Thursday, July 31, 2008

I feel the need to quote this at length, from Climate Progress:
But let me begin at the beginning. Obama, as everyone knows, has presented detailed national strategies to reduce oil consumption as part of his climate plan months ago (see “Obama’s excellent energy and climate plan“). Now the right wing is all agog at some remarks Obama made yesterday about what individuals can do:

“We could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling if everybody was just inflating their tires and getting regular tune-ups. You could save just as much.”

Limbaugh said:

This is unbelievable! My friends, this is laughable of course, but it’s stupid! It is stupid! … Avoid jackrabbit starts, keep your tires properly inflated, there’s a list of about ten or twelve these things. I said if I follow each one of these things I’ll have to stop the car every five miles, siphon some fuel out, for all the fuel I’m going to be saving. This is ridiculous…. Who has filled his head with this stuff?

Actually, it is probably the Bush administration’s own Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency that has filled him with that stuff. Let’s do the math.

First, America consumes about 22 million barrels of oil a day. According to a recent EPA report, “light-duty vehicles account for approximately 40 percent of all U.S. oil consumption,” or about 9 million barrels of oil a day.

Strange as it may seem, the Bush/Cheney DOE and EPA jointly run a website,, that provides recommendations to consumers for saving fuel. And it quantifies the savings. First, we have the recommendations for


* Keep Your Engine Properly Tuned: Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent, though results vary based on the kind of repair and how well it is done. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent.
* Check & Replace Air Filters Regularly: Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car’s gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. Your car’s air filter keeps impurities from damaging the inside of your engine. Not only will replacing a dirty air filter save gas, it will protect your engine.
* Keep Tires Properly Inflated: You can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
* Use the Recommended Grade of Motor Oil: You can improve your gas mileage by 1-2 percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1-2 percent. Using 5W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-20 can lower your gas mileage by 1-1.5 percent. Also, look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.

Okay, let’s say we had a real president who actually cared about ending our addiction to oil during a time we are at war in the Persian Gulf. Let’s say he made a major effort to work with the governors and the mayor is to educate the public and perhaps had an economic stimulus package that included vouchers for low income people to get their car tuned up.

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