Michelin is warning businesses that the cost of driving on under-inflated tyres has risen over an 18-month period, in line with the cost of fuel. In June 2017, average pump prices in the UK reached 116.4 pence per litre for unleaded and 117.4 pence per litre for diesel – an increase of 13.9 per cent and 14.5 per cent respectively since 1 January 2016.
Tyre pressures have a direct impact on a vehicle’s fuel economy, with under-inflation increasing both fuel usage and carbon emissions, whilst also posing serious safety risks to motorists and other road users.
Jonathan Layton, Michelin’s Head of Fleet, explains: “Driving on tyres just a few psi below the manufacturer’s recommended pressures will reduce a vehicle’s fuel efficiency on every single journey. As fuel costs rise, the impact of this under-inflation is pushing running costs higher. A lot of fleet drivers routinely monitor their average fuel consumption via the dashboard display, and many will even be aware of small differences between journeys. Just imagine how much UK businesses could save if drivers paid as close attention to their tyre pressures as they did to their mpg readout.”
Layton adds; “Maintaining accurate tyre pressures is a small but simple step to improving fuel efficiency, maximising vehicle safety and reducing carbon emissions.”
UK data collected by Michelin over the last 10 years shows that, on average, at least 60 per cent of motorists drive on under-inflated tyres, and half of those are at dangerously under-inflated levels (more than 8psi). As well as increasing fuel bills, under-inflation makes a vehicle’s steering less precise, increases stopping distances and leads to a higher risk of aquaplaning. It also reduces a tyre’s endurance capabilities, making it more prone to damage and possible rapid deflation.
Michelin testing has shown that a tyre which is 20 per cent under-inflated will typically return 20 per cent less mileage before needing to be replaced. That means a loss of 5,000 miles on a tyre which offers a potential mileage of 25,000 miles.