managed fleets nitrogen tire inflation

Managed fleets can really benefit from nitrogen tire inflation.

Managed fleets come in all sizes, and are found in a variety of industries, but do have at least one thing in common: they use a lot of fuel.  With gas prices on the rise, keeping control of those costs can be difficult. However, increasing a vehicle’s fuel economy by just 1 mile per gallon can save a 300-vehicle fleet over $50,000 in one year. Fleet managers can easily reign in fuel costs for their fleets and their companies by improving fuel efficiency.

One of the best ways to improve fuel efficiency is with nitrogen tire inflation because nitrogen in tires makes it easier to achieve the most important factor to improving fuel efficiency and increasing tire life: proper tire pressure. By itself, proper tire pressure increases fuel efficiency between three and six percent. If the vehicle already gets 34 miles to the gallon, then a three percent increase in fuel efficiency will achieve that 1 mile per gallon increase that needed to see savings. If the vehicle gets 25 miles to the gallon, then a four percent increase is what needed to achieve that one mile per gallon. Since nitrogen tire inflation maintains proper tire pressure for a longer period of time, those savings are more easily achieved and kept.

According to the Tire Retread Bureau, the biggest issues affecting the bottom line of fleet managers, after fuel costs, are tire maintenance/safety and replacement/tire wear. Nitrogen tire inflation targets those issues as well as the fuel economy because proper tire pressure increases tire life as well as the fuel economy. This leads to even more savings for managed fleets, as they can not only cut fuels costs but cut tire maintenance and replacement costs as well. According to the Technology & Maintenance Council, 10 percent under inflation will shorten tread life anywhere between nine and 16 percent. Under inflation shortens tread life because driving on these tires causes sidewall flexing, which creates irregular tire wear and extra heat build-up within the tire, reducing retreadability and safety while using more energy and fuel. With an average tire press of $250, under inflation will cost a managed fleet an extra $25 per tire. Proper tire pressure with nitrogen tire inflation will reduce those maintenance costs while making the vehicles safer for your drivers.

Nitrogen tire inflation is a win-win for managed fleets both large and small, and in all sorts of industries. It’s been used by the airline industry, NASCAR, and the military for years, so nitrogen must be doing something right for them. If improving fuel economy or cutting operational costs are what you’re after as a fleet manager, then why not see if nitrogen tire inflation can do something right for your managed fleet?

nitrogen in tiresA recent article in the Huffington Post showcased six myths about saving on gas. One of those myths was nitrogen tire inflation because the difference is negligible, and tires filled with air at proper tire pressure will achieve the same results. Prepare for this myth to be busted.

We grant that proper tire pressure is what it takes to achieve greater fuel efficiency, but the way the myth is presented in the Huffington Post article presumes that regular air and nitrogen gas react the same way in consumer tires and in the tires of managed fleet vehicles. The only times the two react differently is in commercial aircraft and high-performance race cars, since they undergo much more extreme temperature changes than a typical four-door driver or long-haul driver.

However, regular air does react to even the less extreme temperate changes that take place as one drives to the store or across state lines. Why else would it be recommended to check tire pressure when the tires are cold? What would be the point of this recommendation if regular air didn’t react under normal driving circumstances? Well, regular does react under those circumstances, and when it is used, it warms up as the car is driven, increasing the tire pressure. Checking the tire pressure when the tires are warm could give a false reading of a tire pressure higher than what it actually is. This could cause someone to release tire pressure that’s needed, or not fill up when they really should.

Nitrogen gas maintains proper tire pressure better and for a longer period of time because it doesn’t react to temperature changes nearly as much as regular air. This reaction takes place in the tires you get from your local auto repair shop as well as the tires on race cars and commercial aircraft. Fuel efficiency increase three to five percent with properly inflated tires versus under-inflated tires. With gas prices going up, that kind of fuel efficiency is much more than “negligible” to some people.

True, some dealerships and auto repair shops may charge for nitrogen, but some do provide the service for free. Some sell brand new tires that are already filled with nitrogen. The core of this myth is busted, since the core argument was that commercial aircraft and high-performance vehicles need it to handle the extreme temperature changes. However, temperature changes still take place in regular driving, so it’s reasonable to conclude nitrogen can make a difference to consumers and to managed fleets as well.

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