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saving fuel managed fleetsThis is a guest post from Eve Pearce.

The road miles traveled by the things we buy make headlines. From food producers to restaurant owners, emphasis is proudly placed on produce that is sourced locally and, hence, hasn’t traveled too far, or for too long, to get to your basket or plate. This is not surprising as there is not much downside to growing vegetables nearby and then eating them: it is healthy, often very economical, and helps local farmers and businesses to flourish. It is often exactly such straightforward thinking that can make significant differences when it comes to economy and the environment.

Optimizing Gas Usage Saves Emissions, Fuel and Time

Efficiency of transportation is not something that only applies to food. Increasing energy prices, levels of greenhouse gas emissions and the need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels all mean that using the resources we have in the most economical way possible is a focal point in the way forward for many industries. It is also the source of much innovation.

Take, for example, GoNitroTire and NitroFleet99 network of services which use nitrogen, as opposed to air, to inflate vehicle tires. This is an idea that, in an economy of scale, can save vast amounts of time and money for those managing fleets.

A look at the prominence of transport in terms of energy usage really brings home how significant an issue this is. Transportation counts for around 11% of carbon consumption in the United States. Finding ways to use fuel more efficiently is, therefore, fundamental to anyone who manages a fleet.

In the U.S. some 400 million gallons of fuel are used each day. Collectively, haulage fleets using tires filled with nitrogen, rather than air, saved this amount during 2007. This, in turn, saved 4 million tons of carbon emissions. As well as saving energy, a great deal of time which might be spent checking and adjusting tire pressures is also saved, and this can lead to greater efficiency.

The reason for this increase in efficiency is that nitrogen has larger molecules than oxygen (which makes up around 23% of air), and so does not leak out of the tire as quickly. Logistics firms and distributors work hard to optimize delivery routes and combine deliveries, and cutting down on road miles and fuel consumption has become a fine art. GoNitroTire are able to lease machinery to supply several bays in a depot, or to inflate a number of car tires simultaneously. This includes options for purging air from the tires, or simply topping up with nitrogen.

Saving Fuel, Helping the Environment

Cutting down on fuel usage is important for the reputation of the haulage industry and in terms of protecting our environment. Being able to reassure clients that goods are being transported to them in as green a way as possible is sound marketing in world where the carbon footprint of each stage in the cycle of goods reaching their market is scrutinized. Large vehicles are very visible to other road users and have a responsibility to use the roads as safely and efficiently as possible as a courtesy to other road users as well as the buyers of the goods they transport. Keeping vehicles safe and efficient is also important in terms of maintaining a fleet in good working order, and this will include HGV insurance as well as servicing and regular maintenance (including tire pressure checks).

In terms of the bigger picture relating to energy usage and the environment, inflating tires with nitrogen, rather than air, saves on gasoline, thus cutting down on our reliance on imported fuel. Any increase in energy self-sufficiency is important for energy security which is focal in energy policy in many other countries, including the UK. Being reliant on imported fuel opens up duel uncertainties in terms of price and supply. A shortage in the latter can lead to stores quickly diminishing. Similarly, fluctuations in price can be crippling to the haulage industry, and have a knock-on effect in other markets.

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Below is part two of the nitrogen in your tires video series. You can catch part one here, although you don’t need to watch part one in order to understand part two. Enjoy!

Well, those prices are taking a hit on many people’s pocketbooks but there are ways to save a little moneyAnd it doesn’t involve buying a new car. Heidi Glaus joins us with more. Heidi –
Glaus: Well, yeah, with prices the way they are these days everyone is looking for the smallest thing to cut back on. Ken Lawton from Go Nitro Tire might have the solution. So, what are the benefits of filling your tires with nitrogen?
Lawton: Well, Heidi, the first and most important benefit is safety. Maintenance, fuel economy, and longer tire wear; these represent the core of benefits for nitrogen-inflated tires.
Glaus: So, this is the kind of machine we’re going to be looking at. But, unlike now when we pull up to a gas station, you can’t just put in a quarter, 50 cents, and fill up your tires. This is going to take somebody special.
Lawton: It’s going to take a technician. Typically, for a conventional car, it takes six to 10 minutes for all four tires simultaneously to be done
Glaus: And, that’ll cost a consumer how much?
Lawton: At a tire store or an automotive group, it’ll cost anywhere from $24.95 to $49.95.
Glaus: And, you were saying that these aren’t really everywhere yet?
Lawton: No, they’re not. There’s just under 500 nitrogen service providers here in the United States. That number is changing and growing rapidly but it’s still a small number for the size of the population.
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The current national average for gas prices is $3.83 per gallon. That’s three cents up from last week, and 30 cents higher than a month ago. It may be time to make a gas buddy by taking a few moments only to find the cheapest gas in your area. Or simply drive less and ride your bike, or walk more. There are plenty of ways to save money on gas, so if you haven’t started thinking of ways to save yet, now would be the time to start.

Now, one way to save gas money is to make our vehicles more efficient. I don’t mean turning them into hybrids. I mean simply maintaining your vehicle, or doing a few small things just a little bit differently. So, what can be done to make your car more of a penny saver instead of a penny pincher?

An informal study from Carnegie Mellon University found that the average person who drives 12,000 miles yearly on under-inflated tires uses about 144 extra gallons of gas, at a cost of $300-$500 a year. Keeping those tires properly inflated would save a few hundred dollars, which the average consumer could easily use in today’s economy. A better way to keep tires properly inflated longer is with nitrogen tire inflation. Keep in mind that regularly inflating your tire with nitrogen doesn’t replace the importance of checking your tire pressure regularly.

Inflating your tire with nitrogen also increases the life of your tire and your car. Nitrogen is a dry, non-corrosive gas and will reduce oxidation and rust due to the absence of oxygen and moisture. This will help minimize wheel corrosion to promote better bead sealing. Nitrogen tire inflation has routinely been used by airlines and racing vehicles, but the practice could prove beneficial for drivers who drive infrequently (car collectors, track drivers, snow tire users, motor home owners, etc).

The best thing about nitrogen tire inflation is that you don’t need to remove the air from you tires to make the switch. Why wait for your tires to lose pressure and risk something happening, when you can start saving money today?

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nitrogen tire inflation ford study

Ford presented the results of this study to the American Chemical Society

If air is 78 percent nitrogen, then what’s the big deal about filling your tires with pure nitrogen instead of air? The nitrogen atom is actually smaller than the oxygen atom, so wouldn’t pure nitrogen be worse because it could leak out much more quickly?

Well, for the average consumer, the benefits of nitrogen tire inflation lie in structural durability due to a significant reduction in what is known as rubber oxidation. Rubber oxidation is the deterioration of the rubber due to the molecular interaction between the oxygen and the rubber, which ruins the durability of the tire over time. Studies have been conducted to test and to compare tire durability between those inflated with air and those inflated with nitrogen.

Ford Motor Company, based in Dearborn, Mich., conducted a study in 2004 on the Effects of Nitrogen Tire Inflation, particularly the effects nitrogen inflation has on the aging performance of passenger tires. Tires were inflated with 96 percent and 99.9 percent nitrogen and were aged for three to 12 weeks. For comparison, tires inflated with either air or a 50/50 mixture of oxygen and nitrogen were aged alongside the nitrogen tires. For this study, the Goodyear Wrangler AP LT245/75R15 was used.

The overall conclusion of the Ford study was that when nitrogen was used, the change in rubber properties was either slowed or halted all together. It was also recognized in the study that the average consumer may not need to get rid of their old tires before making the switch from air to nitrogen.

If Ford’s 2004 study seems old and outdated, then consider a 2007 study from Canada’s Drexan Corp. that found similar results. A test by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also showed that using nitrogen reduced tire pressure loss in new tires, improving your gas mileage and the tires’ lifespan over time. Dr. John Daws, of Daws Engineering, has conducted studies most recently as 2010, which have also found similar results.

The nitrogen tire inflation industry is still in its infancy, but multiple studies have shown that putting nitrogen in your tires is beneficial for the long haul. To learn more about how to get nitrogen into your tires, check out Nitrofleet99.

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