Two in three European motorists are driving with underinflated tires — which is costing them the equivalent of more than $6 billion AUD in unnecessary fuel spending.
A Bridgestone survey of 46,000 cars across Europe has discovered that a staggering 63 per cent are running on tires with low pressures.
The extra drag this causes is leading to needless extra expenditure on extra fuel, something that is also causing an extra 7.4 million tonnes of CO2 to be emitted across Europe.
This is the equivalent of an extra 6.9 grams per kilometre for every single car on the road in Europe — and represents a massive 3.1 billion tonnes of fuel wasted each year.
Given current high fuel prices, this is something drivers will be very keen to avoid, which is why Bridgestone is announcing the results of its huge 11-country investigation.
The Bridgestone survey checked 180,000 tires. It found that 17.5 per cent of motorists were found to be running on seriously underinflated tires – that’s at least 7psi below recommended pressure.
A worrying 4.3 per cent had tires seriously underinflated by 10psi or more: an average family hatchback tire runs at around 30psi, showing the eye-opening extent of underinflation.
67 per cent of cars across Europe had at least one underinflated tire.
The Bridgestone survey also checked tire tread wear rates — and found that almost 20 per cent of tires on the road were also worn down below the EU legal minimum of 1.6 mm tread depth.
Drivers of these vehicles, explained Bridgestone, are likely to experience hydroplaning at speeds of up to 40 per cent lower than normal and face a high safety risk due to loss of road grip.
“There are several different, but equally worrying, conclusions from this research,” said Andy Dingley, Northern European Communications Manager, Bridgestone.
“Aside from motorists, who are already feeling the pinch through higher insurance, tax and petrol prices, wasting their money through unnecessary fuel consumption and replacing tires more frequently, driving on low pressure tires also increases the potential hazards — as pressure reduces, the driver experiences a loss of handling control and a sharp rise in tire wear.
“We’d urge all motorists to check their tire pressures at least once a month, it can save them not only a lot of money but also could avoid road accidents.”