Air Should Be Free

Dear Ultramar:

Yesterday TreeHugger ran a post reporting that if every driver slowed down, drove 5% less and kept their tires properly inflated, it would save twice as much gas as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge oil could provide. Other sites report that proper tire pressure alone could save 4% of our gas consumption. I planned to write today that air should be free, a service provided to customers like water and paper towels for checking oil, to encourage people to keep their tires properly inflated.

I was going to illustrate it with a picture of your high tech, easy to use and free air pump south of Gravenhurst, Ontario. I had even switched to your brand because of it, filling up and checking my tires every time I went past. But when I got there, what did I find? You ripped it out.

Now I have to dig under the car seat looking for quarters, find my reading glasses to read the tiny engraving on the gauge, and take easily twice as long to fill a tire as I did before, just so you can squeeze another fifty cents out, and which you say you don't even keep the profits of.

Every gas station should supply free air. Sure, we know there is a cost for the electricity to run the compressor, but you don't charge for water and a squeegee or the washroom. Sure, we know it is your business to sell more gas, not less, so you don't make any money by encouraging proper tire inflation and better mileage.

But every gas company that charges for air is making it less likely that its customers are driving at maximum efficiency, and therefore producing more pollution and greenhouse gases, and reducing energy security. All for fifty cents, which you will never get from me again.

Yours truly,
Lloyd Alter

More on Fuel Efficiency and Fuel Saving
Conserving Beats Drilling, and Is Faster, Too
66 Ways To Save Money on Gasoline
Why Your Grandma Gets Better Gas Mileage Than You
Proper Tire Pressure For Better MileageProper Tire Pressure For Better Mileage

Tags: Fuel Efficiency

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