Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Feeling a little deflated...

Lately I have been concerned with the fuel economy of my 1.8T VW engine. It is down 25%. I had all the "settings" checked and tyres inflated to recommended pressures. The car ran well for a week and now has relapsed into "poor fuel consumption" mode.

This morning I decided to check the tyre pressures again. I went to an Arco gas station and was rather put out to find that the inflation machine was out of order. I then went to the next station and was bewildered to find that the tyre pressure inflation machine didn't have a gauge on it to measure pressure.

I didn't realise that in order to inflate tyres one needs a pen sized gadget which measures pressure. If you don't have one then you can't check the pressures. You can inflate or deflate; you just don't know what the pressures actually are.

I reflected momentarily on the times in the past when I have wanted to check my tyres and I became aware of the number of instances that the air station has been out of order. It seemed more often than not these machines didn't work for one reason or another. Today I realised the lunacy of having machines that don't measure pressure.

Then it struck me that it isn't in the interests of gas stations to maintain these machines to do an accurate job. They are interested in selling the gas for profit. Tyre pressure has a huge effect on the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. The worse the fuel economy the more gas you need.

Given the current gas prices, if you run your vehicle below specified pressures you could be paying an unnecessary extra $5 per week for the average vehicle.

I personally think that gas stations should be fined on the spot for not having a fully working machine. Maintaining the correct tyre pressure isn't just about fuel economy it is about safety too.


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