October 18-25, 2004

Tire Smart campaign helps motorists stay safe, cut emissions

The Rubber Association of Canada (RAC), in partnership with the federal government and CAA-Quebec, has launched the Be Tire Smart - Play your Part campaign in Quebec. This is the first program of its kind to focus on the safety, environmental and cost benefits of proper tire maintenance.

In addition to helping motorists improve their safety and the fuel efficiency of their vehicles, it will also help save energy and reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change. CAA-Quebec has also joined the campaign to distribute tire maintenance information to its members.

"The number of vehicles operating with underinflated or overinflated tires on our roads and highways day in and day out is disturbing, considering that mis-inflation is the leading cause of tire failure," said RAC president Glenn Maidment. "Our survey findings show that there is an urgent need for better tire inflation and maintenance practices."

The results of a recent survey on tire inflation in Quebec, conducted jointly by the RAC and the federal government, gave impetus to the program launch. The survey found that nearly two-thirds (63%) cent of Quebec passenger cars and light trucks have at least one tire that is improperly inflated by at least 10%. Moreover, 28% of vehicles had at least one tire that is 20% mis-inflated - a potentially serious situation that can lead to reduced safety, higher fuel consumption and GHG emissions.

In addition to the findings on improper tire inflation, the study found that motorists do not know where to look for the proper tire-pressure ratings for their vehicle, when to measure tire pressure and what the proper tire maintenance procedures are. In fact, only 27% of motorists knew to consult the vehicle information placard for the correct tire pressure for their vehicle. In one of the most alarming statistics in the study, 88% of Quebec drivers said they measure their tire pressure when the tires "looked low." In fact, the only accurate way to measure tire pressure is with a good-quality tire gauge.

By keeping tires properly inflated, Canadians can prevent 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Improved fuel efficiency and decreased tire wear can save Canadians a total of $500 million a year; this works out individually to between $850 and $1,000 over the typical seven-year life of a vehicle.

The federal government is participating in the campaign through Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan's) Office of Energy Efficiency. NRCan also co-manages the project and provides information and technical expertise on vehicle fuel efficiency and climate change. Transport Canada and Environment Canada provide services and technical support in their respective fields of expertise.

More information on the program is available on-line at www.betiresmart.ca.

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