Right wing reaction to Barack Obama's comment about tire pressure is yet another example of how political discourse has devolved in this country. It says so much about the world today that a politician can be mocked for saying that properly inflating the tires on our cars could save more oil than would be produced by an oil drilling program proposed by his opponent. Even if you favor said drilling program, you have to be brain dead to downplay the value of proper tire pressure when gas is $4 a gallon (by defiintion the only people who aren't interested in reducing their gas consumption are those who are too rich to notice the price at the pump). Fortunately, this storm in a glove box has led to some good blog posts, like this from Dan Neil in the LA Times. Here are my own random thoughts:
1. My father taught me to check the pressure in the tyres of the family car on a regular basis, probably because I learned to drive in a country that typically pays 3 times as much as America for gasoline.
2. I have routinely fumed about under-inflation in America since I moved here in 1976. Few things irk me more than driving down the Interstate behind a car or minivan or SUV that has obviously not got enough air in its tires. Even when gas was cheap, wasting it was wrong. Not to mention the negative effects on tire wear, braking, safety, etc.
3. America badly needs educating about tires. A lot of people have no idea what the pressure should be or how to check it accurately. Factors like temperature and load are largely ignored. Read Dan's blog. Read the articles on this site. Have a family meeting to make sure all drivers are with the program.
4. Driving on properly inflated tires is something real you can do to reduce our reliance on foreign oil, so if you can't be bothered to do it, what standing do you have in the national debate?
So be a patriot and invest $10 in a decent tire gauge, then use it, regularly. Please.