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Published August 6, 2008 08:21 AM

Cheapest, Fastest Oil Fix? Pump Up Your Tires!

If you have a car, stop whatever you're doing and go check the air pressure of your vehicle's tires.

 Apart from keeping your car in park, pumping up your tires to their proper "PSI" - pounds per square inch - is the fastest, cheapest way to reduce the amount of gasoline you use. Tires have a tendency to lose pressure over time or when the weather changes substantially; a car driving on underinflated tires needs more gas to move. You can gain 3.3% in fuel efficiency by inflating your tires. And with gasoline costing over $4/per gallon, every 3.3% gain means money in your pocket.

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That gain also affords an immediate way to increase our supply of oil. As Barack Obama has noted in his vision for an energy independent America, if we all pumped up our tires to their proper PSI, the U.S. could easily gain from conservation  (i.e., using less fuel) three times as much oil as we could reap from far more costly and environmentally dangerous off-shore oil drilling. And that oil is available TODAY, not ten or twenty years hence - the time it takes to develop oil fields and convert petroleum into gasoline.

"Efforts to improve conservation and efficiency happen to be the best approaches to dealing with the energy crisis — the cheapest, cleanest, quickest and easiest ways to ease our addiction to oil, reduce our pain at the pump and address global warming. It's a pretty simple concept: if our use of fossil fuels is increasing our reliance on Middle Eastern dictators while destroying the planet, maybe we ought to use less," writes Michael Grunwald in Time.

 Tire gauges are cheap. You can buy one for $10-$15 at your local auto supply store; or look here.

If you don't know how to check your tire pressure, this video offers a good explanation.

You can easily save $20-$50 a month on gasoline if you pump up your tires and take other simple steps. Here are the top ten ways to beat high gas prices and increase America's oil supply.

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