Tag Archives: energy

The Math: Tire Pressure vs. Drilling

Much mockery was made by the right about Barack Obama’s tire pressure comment. Inflating our tires would never give us us much oil as new drilling, would it? Let’s do some math…

It is said that if Americans ran their cars with proper tire pressure, we’d save 3%-4% of our gasoline consumption. The government says that “lifting the bans might boost the nation’s oil production by 1 or 2 million barrels a day by sometime next decade.”

So let’s see. Say that America uses 140 billion gallons of gas per year and that 1 barrel of crude oil yields 20 gallons of gasoline. The 3%-4% saved by tire inflation looks to save 280 million barrels of oil per year, or $160 – $200 billion at the pump.  For drilling option, that translates into either 365 million barrels or 730 million barrels per year – 10 years from now! If we start both plans today, assuming the 1 million barrels per day for the new drilling, it would take 39 years for new drilling to have produced more cumulative barrels than the barrels saved by tire inflation. Assuming the 2 million barrel per day number, it would take 15 years for drilling to produce more oil than the oil saved from tire inflation.

I’m not saying that inflating our tires is a sound national energy policy, but neither is Barack Obama. Obama said it was one thing we could all start doing today to save energy. It is clear, however, that if both alternatives were initiated today, proper tire inflation would save far more barrels than new drilling would produce in before the end of the hypothetical 8 years of the next president’s term. 

Also add to the fun this John McCain quote:

Obama said a couple of days ago says we all should inflate our tires. I don’t disagree with that. The American Automobile Association strongly recommends it…

And this Obama-like assertion from April 12:

And I’m sorry to tell you that the price of oil, as far as I can tell, is not gonna go down any time soon, until we eliminate our dependency on it. We can do that as a nation, we can turn off the lights five minutes earlier, we don’t have to drive the extra block.

So McCain mocks Barack for tire inflation, but thinks we’re going to eliminate our dependancy on foreign oil by shutting our lights out 5 minutes earlier? Ha! To quote Senator Obama, “It’s like these people take pride in being ignorant”.

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