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solutions to saving energyThis is a guest post from Tim Smith. Tim writes about home improvement and energy efficiency for Modernize.

Government agencies and big industry face fleet-management problems that dwarf simple conservation techniques. Industry uses 25 percent of domestic energy for transportation costs, so finding holistic and sustainable solutions at all levels of manufacturing is essential for optimizing energy usage in the United States. Technologies that are changing the ways government and industry managers look at transportation and fleet management include hybrid cars, hybrid tires, cleaner biofuels, tanks that burn natural gas, hydrogen fuel cells and nitrogen tire inflation.

Reducing Fuel Consumption and Emissions

More people now live in urban areas than elsewhere, a dynamic that’s changed how people live, work and interact. Billions of people living in close proximity requires thoughtful solutions to reduce energy usage, lower harmful emissions and maximize limited resources.

Effects of Using High-purity Nitrogen in Tires

Nitrogen provides a sustainable solution for optimizing energy usage. Scientists and engineers have long known about the benefits of using pure nitrogen in tires, and the airline and NASCAR industries adopted the practice decades ago. Benefits of nitrogen inflation include:

● Delivering up to six percent better mileage than compressed air

● Reducing leakage from tires

● Minimizing rust in auto components, which is caused by the oxygen and moisture content of regular compressed air leaking from tires under high pressure

● Increasing lifespan of tires up to 30 percent by minimizing the harmful effects of oxygen on rubber

Bridgestone, Ford and Goodyear have conducted scientific research that proves nitrogen penetrates tires three or four times more slowly than corrosive air. Tires inflated with pure nitrogen get better mileage, deliver more even wear and increase auto safety.

Cutting-edge Companies and Technology

Businesses and government agencies can lead by example, and NitroFleet99 helps these companies adopt the technology, manage transportation fleets and invest in nitrogen-inflation technology that provides long-term cost and aesthetic benefits. About 70 percent of domestic fuel consumption is generated by the transportation industry, and fleets can save 6 percent in costs right off the top while reducing the 300 million abandoned tires each year by 30 percent.

Developing countries often have advantages when it comes to optimizing energy usage because it’s easier to design efficient systems from the gate than retrofit aging systems to reduce carbon footprints and maximize use of resources. Green transportation technologies for managing fleets are changing the dynamic, however, and companies like NitroFleet99 are providing new technologies that optimize energy use in holistic ways that cut energy use, reduce operating costs and minimize equipment wear. Working with senior management, the company helps its energy partners link energy practices with existing infrastructure and technologies, educate staff about energy savings opportunities and set realistic, evolving goals for reducing energy usage in all aspects of industry and transportation.

NitroFleet99, a company dedicated to the simple expedient of replacing the current tire-inflation systems with high-purity nitrogen, provides a working network of industry partnerships for exploring the benefits of using nitrogen in business and fleet-management applications. Safe, inexpensive and easy to maintain, tires inflated with nitrogen get better mileage and provide other holistic benefits. NitroFleet99 is working to establish a national infrastructure for inflating tires with pure nitrogen from coast to coast. Ideally, this innovation costs as little as $29.95 for filling four tires while generating substantial energy savings and longer lasting tires and auto components. Less wear means less waste in landfills from millions of pounds of rubber.

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nitrogen tire inflation for managed fleetsWhen managed fleets consider adopting nitrogen tire inflation, the biggest question about the change is the return on investment. If we spend the money on a few nitrogen inflation carts and implement the process, then when will the machines pay for themselves? What benefits will the fleet specifically see from nitrogen, when air is already 78 percent nitrogen?

The main benefit of nitrogen tire inflation is that nitrogen maintains proper tire pressure for a longer period of time than regular air, leading to whole host of other benefits to your fleet. To explain these benefits and how they impact your bottom line, we’re going to go through our money saving calculator and explain each section and how a fleet saves money with each section.

Miles Driven Per Year

The average fleet vehicle drives between 15,000 and 20,000 miles per year, but the average for your fleet may be higher or lower, depending on a variety of factors. Our money saving calculator needs this figure to determine the savings from the next three sections. To clarify, this number refers to the average number of miles for one vehicle in your fleet, since our calculator determines the savings based on one vehicle. It doesn’t not calculate the savings for an entire fleet, although that is easy to figure out once the calculator has the savings for one vehicle. Obviously, the more miles driven in a year, the savings your managed fleet could see from nitrogen tire inflation.

Average Price of Gas Per Gallon

Currently, the average price for a gallon of gas is $3.68. For diesel fuel, the average price is $3.88 per gallon. Nitrogen tire inflation improves your fleet’s fuel efficiency by maintaining proper tire pressure for a longer period of time. Proper tire pressure, by itself, increases fuel efficiency by three percent. Three percent doesn’t seem like a big deal, but multiply that across your 50, 1000, or 10,000 fleet vehicles driving on under-inflated or over-inflated tires, and your managed fleet is wasting money in fuel.

MPG

According to the most recent statistics, the average miles per gallon for U.S. fleet vehicles is 23.2 mpg.  The average for all cars in the U.S. is 24.6 mpg. If you happen to know the average miles per gallon for your fleet, or have a way to come up with that number, then use that number in the calculator. Otherwise, you’re welcome to use the average numbers that we have provided.

Cost of a Full Set of Tires

For a fleet vehicle that has four wheels (versus an 18-wheeler or any other specialized fleet vehicle), the cost of full set of tires is about $600. Besides the four tires, this price also includes mounting and balancing, disposal of the old tires, alignment and the valve stems. Since nitrogen tire inflation improves tire life and tread wear (because nitrogen maintains proper tire pressure for a longer period of time, so the tread wears evenly versus just the middle or the outer edge), a managed fleet gets more out of each $600 purchase. The tires last longer, so a managed fleet gets more value for its money. Because the tires last longer, the $600 purchase needs to be made less often.

Conclusion

If we put the average numbers into the calculator to determine the savings with nitrogen tire inflation (20,000 miles, $3.68 per gallon, 24 mpg and $600), then the annual savings for one fleet vehicle using nitrogen tires is $150.09. For one vehicles, that’s not a whole lot, which is why we don’t focus on encouraging nitrogen tires in the consumer market (we won’t actively discourage it either, to be clear).

But, for a managed fleet of 1,000 vehicles, then the fleet can save $150,000 using nitrogen tire inflation. That is a substantial amount of savings, especially when the fleet considers how much it is currently spending on tires, fuel, maintenance, safety and anything else needed to keep the each of the fleet’s vehicles running. Even for a fleet of 100 vehicles, where the annual savings would only be $15,000, is still the equivalent of a part-time employee. Implementing a nitrogen tire inflation program into your managed fleet may cost $15,000, but it certainly isn’t going to cost $150,000, so the return on investment is clear.

photo credit: State Farm via photopin cc

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nitrogen tire inflation factsNitrogen tire inflation isn’t a gimmick. Nitrogen tire inflation isn’t a scam to make money just because air is free. The paid version of a free product isn’t always a fraud to trick people into paying for a horrible product. Nitrogen tire inflation is the exact opposite and as “the paid version of air,” it offers both consumer drivers and managed fleets more value than air-inflated tires could ever provide.

To showcase this value, we’ve compiled 16 fast facts about nitrogen tire inflation, tire maintenance and fuel efficiency. The practice of nitrogen tires isn’t a gimmick. It’s a sustainable, working solution that addresses problems that put holes in people’s wallets, puts greenhouse gases into our atmosphere and puts lives at risk.

  1. 85 percent of American don’t check their tire pressure regularly
  2. 54 percent drive on at least one under-inflated tire
  3. Vehicles driving on under-inflated tires have are three times more likely to be involved in a car accident than vehicles with proper tire pressure.
  4. The likelihood of a tire-related crash increases as your tire tread wears.
  5. Nitrogen permeates tire walls up to four times slower than air. With regular air, tires will lose 1 to 2 psi over one months, versus the six months it takes a nitrogen tire to lose that same amount of pressure
  6. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 psi drop in tire pressure
  7. Gas mileage can be improved by 3.3 percent by keeping tires inflated to proper pressure
  8. If 187 million vehicles improved their gas mileage by 3.3 percent, then the U.S would save over 3.7 billion gallons of gas in one year.
  9. 11 percent of our carbon emissions come from the transportation sector
  10. Over 300 million tires are disposed of annually in the U.S
  11. Nitrogen-inflated tires can reduce this amount by up to 30 percent
  12. Nitrogen reduces the chance of tire failure, such as a blowout, by 50 percent
  13. Nitrogen also increases tread life by up to 30 percent, improving the tire’s life and its grip to the road
  14. NASCAR, the airline industry, NASA, and the U.S military have all used nitrogen inflated tires for years
  15. It can take up to six months for a managed fleet to see the benefits of nitrogen tire inflation, but it only takes 30 to 60 days for a managed fleet to see the financial consequences of poorly-maintained and under-inflated tires.
  16. Companies such as Michelin, Ford, and Goodyear have publicly expressed their support
    for nitrogen tire inflation

Asking people to address these problems themselves by purchasing an air compressor, checking their tire pressure weekly, and topping off their tires themselves (unless you’re a managed fleet that pays people to do this for your vehicles) isn’t a good solution to reducing carbon emissions or to saving gas and gas money. A better solution is to change what’s going into people’s tires so the public doesn’t have to go through the hassle every week and so managed fleets can get more on their tire and fuel investments. A better solution is nitrogen tire inflation.

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nitrogen tire inflation programPurchasing a nitrogen tire system is a big decision, and with that decision comes the process of getting started. This process can include educating and training employees, tracking your return on investment, additional maintenance checks, and watching for reduced costs in other parts of your organization. Getting started with nitrogen can be difficult, at least until all those aspects are worked out. Below is all the information you need to get you and your managed fleet started with nitrogen tire inflation: choosing a nitrogen system, implementing that system into your fleet, tracking your fleet’s carbon footprint, and how technology like nitrogen can reduce our country’s energy dependence and fix its infrastructure.

How to Implement a Nitrogen Tire Inflation Program into Your Fleet – Buying the nitrogen tire system is important, but more on that later. What you also need to know as a fleet manager is how to implement that system in your fleet, and change the behavior of your staff so that your nitrogen tires are most effective. This article outlines how to implement this program into your fleet and make nitrogen tires a tradition with your organization.

3 Effective Ways to Improve Fleet Safety – Improving fleet safety is huge toward the bottom line and the efficiency of managed fleets. Nitrogen tire inflation improve the fleet and driver safety, and is just one of the effective ways that you can put in place to day to improve your fleet’s safety.

How to Choose the Right Nitrogen Tire System for You – There are plenty of nitrogen tire systems available with a variety of sizes and features. How do you choose the best one for your fleet? This article covers the factors that are most important to consider before making your final purchase.

Managed Fleets and Ending America’s Dependence on Foreign Oil – Green technology like nitrogen tire inflation can end our dependence on foreign oil. Transportation fleets and the trucking industry doesn’t have to be the demons in America’s dependence on foreign oil, simply consuming energy to keep this country running. By utilizing green technology, they can be part of the solution as well.

How to Track Your Fleet’s Carbon Footprint – In order to practice sustainable fleet management, you need to track your fleet’s carbon footprint and take steps to reduce carbon emissions. Tracking your fleet’s carbon footprint will allow you to know exactly what your carbon emission is and offer ideas on how to cut those emissions. You can’t improve what you can’t measure.

Hybrid Tires and a Network of Nitrogen Services – Transportation accounts for almost 70% of  the fuel consumption in the US. Nitrogen services can change that by turning tires into hybrid tires, and a network of nitrogen services can enable cross-country vehicles to top off their tires with nitrogen. They can also ensure consistent tire maintenance, no matter where a truck or managed fleet vehicle stops for a routine check.

5 Great Fleet Vehicle Picks – Good fleet management includes picking the right vehicles for your fleet. After all, nitrogen tire inflation isn’t the only way to improve the sustainability of your fleet vehicles. Here are 5 great fleet vehicle choices that add to your bottom line.

How the Cost of Carbon Affects the Trucking Industry – Climate change is much more than severe weather. It’s also about the economic costs that hit hard and affect everyone, as illustrated by the $65 billion in economic damages caused by Hurricane Sandy alone. Learn how the trucking industry can contribute to reducing climate change and the cost of carbon.

photo credit: DiamondBack Truck Covers via photopin cc

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nitrogen inflationThis is a guest post from Andre Smith.

Nitrogen inflation has become increasingly popular in the last ten years. Many industry experts praise it for its promise of increased fuel economy and reduced tire wear, while others raise questions about the actual usefulness and credibility. With fuel prices as high as ever and many consumers and businesses cutting back on costs, nitrogen inflation can seem like an enticing endeavor. While nitrogen inflation can in fact promote efficiency, it is important to have all the correct information on why it is beneficial.

Common Myths About Nitrogen Inflation

There is no need to do pressure checks on tires inflated with nitrogen.

False. While nitrogen does in fact take longer to leak out of inflated tires, tires inflated with nitrogen should still be checked regularly for proper pressure. Divers should notice that their pressure checks come back positive more often than using regular air and the amount of pressure maintenance that needs to be done will most likely be reduced. Nitrogen, however, is still prone to malfunctions in the actual tires such as leaks in the valve stem or a punctures.

Nitrogen inflation can increase fuel economy and tire life.

Because nitrogen inflation promotes properly pressurized tires by eliminating the leaky oxygen in air, nitrogen inflation can in fact promote better fuel economy and more even tire wear. These factors, however are associated directly with the proper tire pressure regardless of composition. Nitrogen inflation provides a more convenient way to keep the pressure ideal.

There is no benefit to inflating with nitrogen as air is already 78.1% nitrogen.

Air is in fact already 78.1% nitrogen. During actual nitrogen inflation, however, the current air in the tire is removed and replaced with clean nitrogen at a concentration of 94% or more. This purging of air also removes any water vapor, oil contaminants, and particles that may be in the tire. The higher concentration of nitrogen is what promotes a slower deflating tire not the nitrogen itself.

Nitrogen Inflation Research

The idea of nitrogen inflation dates back to as early as 1968 when a man by the name of Dr. Larry Sperberg came up with the concept of “chemical degradation,” where a tire wears from the inside out. He found that air from compressor tanks was introducing the tires to air that was full of moisture. According to Sperberg the moisturized air makes its way into the tire cord body and causes heat and expansion. By using nitrogen that is dry and clean this expansion and degradation is decreased significantly.

Nitrogen’s advantage over oxygen when used as a way to inflate tires lies within its chemical structure. Nitrogen molecules are larger than oxygen molecules. As a result, nitrogen does not pass through the inner liner or sidewalls of a tire as easily. In addition, nitrogen is dry and inert. This allows tires to run cooler and reduces degradation.

Additional Benefits of Nitrogen Inflation

Being green has never been more important. In addition to investing in a fuel efficient or hybrid vehicle, inflating with nitrogen can make that vehicle even greener. Nitrogen inflation promotes better fuel economy and can reduce tire wear. By decreasing these you are keeping more emissions out of the air and more tires out of landfills. More information on automobiles being green can be had at Klosters’ website.

How Do I Use Nitrogen On My Vehicle?

There are a few ways to have your tires inflated with nitrogen. Nitrogen inflation requires a special system in order for the current air in the tire to be purged and then refilled with a high concentration of nitrogen. Many automotive dealers will provide this service. There are also kits available for purchase that allow for you to have access to nitrogen inflation at anytime.

In Conclusion

While nitrogen inflation is not a “cure all,” solution for pressurized automotive tires, it does provide some worthy advantages. Because of it’s chemical structure, nitrogen is scientifically more capable of providing longer lasting pressure directly resulting in better fuel economy and tire life. As this becomes a rising concern, implementation of nitrogen in automotive tires will most likely continue to rise.

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nitrogen tire inflation systemPurchasing a nitrogen tire inflation system is a big deal. Not only is it a large investment, but not all systems are created the same. Choosing the right system that will serve your managed fleet to your needs requires knowing several factors in how you will use the nitrogen tire system and how quickly you need to service each vehicle. Here’s how to choose the right nitrogen tire inflation system for your managed fleet:

Number of Vehicles

The number of vehicles not only determines how many nitrogen carts and how much nitrogen capacity you need, but you also need to know if you plan to fill every vehicle or if you plan to fill two or more vehicles at a time. Systems come in various sizes and capacities, so you need to consider the number of tires you’ll be servicing each month as well as if you plan to service multiple vehicles at once. Knowing this will ensure that you purchase a system that can handle the volume of your fleet at a speed that works for your drivers and maintenance crew.

Space and Mobility

With your nitrogen tire system, you need to know which characteristic is more important for your overall fleet management. If space is tight, then you probably don’t want a system that is too large or has too many hose reels that require additional storage space. You may not necessarily want a mobile nitrogen tire program, as you may not have the space to move the carts around so they can reach every single tire. Of course, if you have the space, then mobility might be a more convenient option.

Naturally, you’ll need to balance space and mobility with the number of vehicles you plan to service. Mobile may be tougher to have it you’re servicing over 1200 tires per month, but could be a nice alternative in case a vehicle just needs to be topped off and doesn’t need a full maintenance check. But, mobile is easier if you have a small fleet and are capable of handling more individualized service and maintenance for your fleet vehicles.

Purchase for Future Use

A nitrogen tire inflation system may be a hesitant purchase for many managed fleets, since the practice is brand new and not something that’s already been tested with the fleet. This may lead to a hesitant purchase, one that doesn’t include the ability to scale or to consider future use in terms of servicing larger or additional vehicles. For some managed fleets that aren’t projecting or planning to increase the size of their fleets, purchasing a system that meets current needs isn’t a bad idea. However, there are instances where purchasing for future need is a good idea. If your company is planning to purchase more, or bigger, fleet vehicles in 2014, or if you’re going to add nitrogen tire programs to other locations or maintenance centers, then doing a bulk purchase may be smarter and better for the bottom line.

Related Links:

How to Implement a Nitrogen Tire Inflation Program into Your Fleet

3 New Year’s Resolutions for Managed Fleets

How to Track Your Fleet’s Carbon Footprint

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new years resolutions for managed fleetsThe first full week of 2014 is almost over, and resolutions may seem like a tradition that companies don’t normally do, this doesn’t mean that your managed fleet can’t have one or two goals for the year. After all, setting out to make this year better than last year isn’t a bad idea, and setting a fleet management resolution can help you do that. Here are three New Year’s resolutions for managed fleets:

Improve Safety and Compliance

Improving safety and compliance could mean tackling a variety of issues. For some fleets, improving safety could mean working with drivers to reduce accidents. For others, it could mean working on maintenance so vehicles don’t cause problems for drivers. Some managed fleets may decide to work on safety training and policies. Whichever way you choose to improve safety and compliance, it’s certainly a resolution on every managed fleet’s list, as these statistics show:

  • Drivers age 36-45 had the highest rate of accidents in 2011
  • The time of day with the highest rate of accidents is from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • 86% of drivers drink and eat while driving
  • 77.7% of accidents occur on clear, sunny days – This one doesn’t necessarily mean weather isn’t a safety issue. It could mean that many fleets avoid driving in severe weather as a safety precaution, or reduce the number of vehicles on the road. It could also mean that drivers get more cautious as the weather worsens, lessening the chance of accident because they are paying much more attention to their surroundings.

Improve the Bottom Line

Reducing costs/increasing revenue is one of the biggest challenges facing fleet managers. It’s a constant struggle as some of these costs and revenue sources, such as fuel costs, are outside your control. The economy can also make a big impact, affecting the overall business climate as well  as the willingness of customers to continue services. Improving revenue and/or reducing costs could also mean targeting a specific problems, such as improving driver productivity, improving driver retention, lowering insurance costs, and improving route efficiency.

Overall, improving the bottom line is a balancing act where everyone needs to be kept happy as initiatives are put into place. You may want to reduce vehicle acquisition costs, for example, but you also need to purchase vehicles that your drivers will like to use. You also don’t want to invest in an initiative that doesn’t equate to savings, or recoup its investment fast enough.

Improve Your Carbon Footprint

The most effective way to improve your carbon footprint is to work on your fuel efficiency. That’s what Midwest retailer Meijer did, and credits its 60% carbon footprint reduction to fuel efficiency and the implementation of the EPA’s near-zero emission standards. Because of these efforts, Meijer is now the largest all-clean diesel fleet in North America.

Fuel efficiency isn’t the only way to improve your carbon footprint. If your fleet is growing over the next 12 months, then you can consider great fleet vehicle picks such as hybrid or electric vehicles as they would reduce your footprint. Your fleet could also start by coming up with metrics to measure your carbon footprint. You can’t improve what you can’t measure, and unlike safety and revenue, the carbon footprint doesn’t easily come with data and indicators to show you who well you’re doing.

Although there are many ways to meet these resolutions over the next 12 months, there is only one way that can accomplish all of them: nitrogen tire inflation. Putting nitrogen in your tires improves safety and compliance by keeping tires at proper pressure and tire for longer periods of time. This decreases the chances of a blowout. Having tires at proper tire pressure for longer periods of time improves your bottom line by reducing your fuel and maintenance costs. You’re no longer wasting gas and reducing tire life because your vehicles have under-inflated tires. Nitrogen tire inflation also improves your carbon footprint because there will be fewer tires in landfills and less gas used in the long run. All of that is great for the environment.

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extended tire life

With an extended tire life, fewer tires will be wasted and placed into landfills.

Nitrogen tire inflation has a very slight improvement in one vehicles over the course of its lifetime. It doesn’t sound like much, but to a managed fleet of 100, or 10,000, or 100,000 vehicles, improving each vehicles slightly translates into significant improvements for the whole fleet. However, many managed fleets are still hesitant about nitrogen tire inflation, unwilling to try something new or failing to see how the practice is different from regular air. One big difference in tire life, and here are four tire life advantages with nitrogen tire inflation, advantages that you want to capitalize on in order to cut costs and to improve your bottom line:

Increased Fuel Efficiency

If gas tanks are draining family budgets, then they are probably draining fleet budgets, especially since you have more than two or three vehicles to worry about. Fuel is one of the largest expenses for a fleet, if not the largest. A quarter of government fleets surveyed said their fuel costs increased by 25% between 2006 and 2011. Any improvement in fuel efficiency is an improvement on the bottom line, and nitrogen tire inflation is a fuel efficiency improvement because it keeps tires at the right tire pressure for a longer period of time. Just having the right tire pressure can increase fuel efficiency between three and 10 percent, which is incredibly for a fleet of 100 or 1000 vehicles. Nitrogen can do this, and it compliments the fact that your drivers should already be checking tire pressure regularly and correctly.

Less Wear and Tear

Proper tire pressure for a longer period of time improves fuel efficiency, but it also improves tire life. overinflated tiresThis is because tires that are over- or under-inflated, as shown on the left, don’t grip the road the same way a properly-inflated tire grips the road. Because the grip is different, the wear patterns will be different, meaning that the wear patterns for over- and under-inflated tires decrease their tire life. Tires with those wear patterns aren’t safe for driving and they will need to be replaced. Tires that are properly inflated will also wear slower, so they can be used for much longer while needing fewer retreads over the course of their lifetime.

Protect Your Fleet Vehicles

Regular air causes corrosion to inner liners, rims, and steel belts. Although regular drivers aren’t concerned about that kind of damage to their vehicles, commercial drivers and managed fleets ought to be a little more concerned. You need these vehicles to last as long as possible, and be as safe as possible, while not costing a boatload in maintenance. Nitrogen tire inflation can do this by extending tire life and extending the life of these parts without cutting corners or requiring a lot of investment over time. Once you have a nitrogen tire program in place and you have your employees trained in proper tire care, your fleet vehicles will be protected from these problems, giving you a significant advantage over your competitors, who will have to spend extra time and money keeping their vehicles in top shape.

Savings for Your Managed Fleet

Firestone reports that with just one vehicle, you average about $116 per year in savings with nitrogen tire inflation. Granted, that’s not a lot and the practice isn’t necessarily worth it if you have just one vehicles. However, when you consider that the largest commercial fleet in the country has almost 100,000 vehicles, $100 per vehicle per year is a monumental amount of savings. Even though most fleets aren’t anywhere near that size, also consider that a fleet of 10 vehicles will save $1000 a year, which is also substantial for the small or medium-sized business that needs every dollar it can get.

Related Links:

How to Implement a Nitrogen Tire Inflation Program into Your Fleet

3 Effective Ways to Improve Fleet Safety

How the Cost of Carbon Affects the Trucking Industry

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nitrogen in tiresThis is a guest post from Kerry Blake.

Many myths about the use of nitrogen in tires exist in the wake of its relatively recent expansion in the world of passenger vehicles. These myths pertain to the supposed miraculous effects of using nitrogen in tires as opposed to regular air, and how they are presented to the consumer market. For that reason, we have decided to clear the air (no pun intended) and present to you some facts relating to nitrogen tire inflation.

Moisture

There is not much difference between switching from oxygen to nitrogen in new and used cars, but there is a difference between inflating your tires with normal air in, for example, San Diego and Las Vegas. One of the main advantages of nitrogen is the fact that it doesn’t allow any moisture in the form of water vapor to remain on the tire wall, while some percentage of water vapor is inevitable in air, which consists of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% of CO2, water vapor and other gasses. That percentage, of course, will be somewhat higher along the coastline and the air will be drier in places like Las Vegas, so it is not quite the same if you fill your tire with air at the seaside or in the desert. You will also strain your tires more when driving in an extremely hot or cold environment. Excess moisture may contribute to the corrosion of rims and cause your tire pressure to be less stable in more extreme temperatures and harsher surroundings. For that reason, nitrogen is used for inflating tires in F1, airplanes and various other vehicles where the tires are exposed to extreme temperature changes.

Performance

Since nitrogen molecules about four times bigger than oxygen molecules, they cannot pass through the rubber structure as easily. That is why a tire filled with nitrogen will maintain its pressure much longer, making it less likely for you to end up driving on under-inflated tires, which will affect the fuel economy and handling somewhat.

Nitrogen will maintain the tire pressure at the same level for about three times longer than regular air, which means you won’t have to check your tire pressure every couple of days. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can forget about your tires and stop checking the pressure altogether. Monitoring the pressure in your tire is the only way for you to be sure you are making the most out of your car. Nitrogen also ensures more accurate readings, so you don’t unintentionally over-inflate or under-inflate your tires and ruin your fuel economy.

Is it worth it?

If you drive a truck on ice roads of northern Canada or a or in the hot, desert climate of the Southwest, then it is definitely worth it to switch nitrogen tire inflation. There is a reason it is used in F1 cars and airplanes and it is precisely in these types of extreme conditions that nitrogen has been proven to be much more stable and predictable than normal air. Even though you’re not driving at the same speeds as race cars, this doesn’t mean that you and your tires aren’t affected by the outside temperature, especially in climates that have an 80-degree difference or more between summer and winter.

Additional resources:

Carzoos

The Winter Benefits of Putting Nitrogen in Your Tires

Some of the Wackiest Arguments Against Nitrogen Tire Inflation

Nitrogen in Tires Consumer Reports Response

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marketing nitrogen tiresRight now, if you want to purchase nitrogen for your tires, you have to go to a mechanic or an auto shop. You can get nitrogen tires somewhere like Costco, but you usually will only get nitrogen tires if you purchase a new set of tires. If the ones on your car are just fine, then the neighborhood auto repair shop is your best bet. It’s great that nitrogen tire inflation is available at these places, but these same places are also marketing the practice incorrectly, saying things that simply aren’t true about nitrogen tires while not understanding the science behind the practice. Here are what mechanics and auto shops are getting wrong about nitrogen tire inflation when trying to sell it to consumers:

Nitrogen is Less Volatile than Oxygen. Thus, it’s Safer in a Fiery Crash

Although nitrogen is less volatile than oxygen, the point that nitrogen is safer in a car accident is false and doesn’t mean anything. Once the car is on fire, the car is on fire, and nitrogen tire inflation isn’t going to prevent that fire or make the fire any smaller. The way this argument should apply is that since nitrogen is less volatile, your tires are less likely to overheat and to result in a blowout. There are 23,000 collisions per year due to a tire blowout, and this is a safety problem that nitrogen tire inflation can actually solve.

The Rubber of Nitrogen-Filled Tires Last Longer

This one’s important to note because naysayers will respond to this with, “What about all the air on the outside of the tire?” It’s a valid question, but the degradation of the inside isn’t on the rubber It’s on the axle, where the oxygen and water vapor can rust the axle over time. Axle’s are much harder to replace than a tire, and aren’t looked at as often. Also, the rubber ends up lasting longer because the proper tire pressure that comes with nitrogen leads to even tread wear. Even tread wear means your tires last longer because you don’t have to change them as quickly because of uneven tread wear. Although any excessive tread wear isn’t a good thing, if that tread wear is uneven (where it’s predominantly in the middle or on the outside of the treat), you will have to change your tires sooner because the uneven tread wear isn’t safe to drive on.

Air is 78% Nitrogen

Get this into your head, as most people consider this common knowledge, and waving this fact off with, “Well, I don’t know,” or “I’m not a scientist” only makes the practice look like a scam. This is true, so the point that needs to be emphasized is that oxygen and water vapor are the problems. Naysayers like to throw this one out there, thinking that 12% more nitrogen can be all that important, so it’s extra important to know the counterargument and to not get stumped by the resistance. Nitrogen tire inflation eliminates the oxygen and water vapor that’s in air, and this 12% increase in nitrogen concentration is substantial (as well as a 100% decrease in oxygen and water vapor) and it makes a world of difference in fuel economy and tire life.

This equipment is expensive, and you need to make your money back on that equipment. We understand that, but the way to do that isn’t to dupe people and not have counterarguments for those who aren’t as easily duped. The way to make money from this service isn’t to push it on as many people as possible. Once you understand the science and the pitches you’re making to these people, then you can be prepared to show that nitrogen tire inflation isn’t a scam, but is a practice that provides value to drivers.

Related Links:

How to Implement a Nitrogen Tire Inflation Program into Your Fleet

Nitrofleet99 Helps Drivers Green Their Vehicles, Create Hybrid Tires

How Nitrogen-Filled Tires Improve Safety

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