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“Give me a one-handed economist,” demanded an exasperated President Harry Truman. “All my economists say, ‘on the one hand…on the other’”. It is often hard for so-called economic experts to take a stand and offer a clear and unequivocal answer.

When it comes to talking about using compressed air versus nitrogen in tires, those experts would declare nitrogen as the clear, hands-down winner. Nitrogen simply offers superior benefits: fuel economy, longer tire life, and enhanced driver safety through lower likelihood of under inflation.

Despite these benefits borne out by scientific facts, some two-handed experts in the realm of tire inflation continue to sing the praises of nitrogen while recommending the use of compressed air for the millions of drivers around the world.

Here’s an example of a two-handed article which warrants a clear and convincing response to quash any misconception about the value of nitrogen to your tires and the overall driving experience.

The article has made the following assertions:

  • “Rather than pay extra for nitrogen, most drivers would be better off buying an accurate tire pressure gauge and checking and adjusting their tire pressures regularly.”

Response: The modest cost of nitrogen is nothing compared to the benefits that you will enjoy from lower fuel cost, longer tire life and higher level of driver safety. (You can check the summary of benefits based on comparative research here.) Regarding regularly checking and adjusting tire pressures, most drivers don’t have the time or the wherewithal to check their tire pressures on a weekly or even monthly basis. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can attest to this lack of regular attention to tire pressure. NHTSA published a bulletin warning drivers to check their tires regularly, due to hundreds of fatalities and injuries resulting from tire-related issues including tire under inflation.

  • “Overall, inflating tires with nitrogen won’t hurt them and may provide some minimal benefits.”

Response: Talk about the understatement of the century! Nitrogen provides superior benefits to passenger car drivers (as well as truck and fleet owners). It can increase the lifespan of your tires by up to a third (30%); generate more than 7% in fuel savings; and reduce pressure loss by more than 50%, which is crucial to car handling, stability and driver safety.

When it comes to your safety and the safety of your family, you shouldn’t listen to a two-handed tire expert.

A one-handed economist would say, nitrogen is the element of choice for your tires.

Post Author: Dr. Rey Rosales

Dr. Rey Rosales holds a Ph.D. in Journalism from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He obtained a Master of Science in Radio-TV from Arkansas State University. He has trained at both The MIT Sloan School of Management and Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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