Nitrogen in your tires maintains your tire pressure longer, which ensures that the recommended “contact patch”, the area of the tire that makes contact with the road surface, is being used. This reduces rolling resistance compared to an under-inflated tire and lower rolling resistance means better fuel economy. According to the Department of Energy, you can improve fuel economy by 3.3% by keeping tires properly inflated.
A properly inflated tire also wears less quickly. Under-inflation causes excessive wear on the outside edges of the tread and over-inflation causes the center of the tread to wear faster. Longer lasting tires means you buy tires less often, allowing you to get more miles out of each tire purchase.
Replacing oxygen with nitrogen reduces oxidation. Oxidation occurs when oxygen reacts with tire components at high temperatures and pressures, damaging inner liners, belt packages and rims. Oxidation not only reduces tire life, it also creates rust particles that can clog TPMS sensors and get stuck in the valve, causing slow leaks.
Incorrect inflation pressure also poses a safety risk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that proper tire inflation could help save 50 to 80 lives and prevent 6,600 to 10,600 injuries each year. They also say that 90% of blowouts are attributed to under-inflated tires. Since nitrogen inflation will maintain the correct pressure longer, the chance of a blowout is reduced.
Having the correct contact patch also means the tire will work as it was engineered to, providing better grip and steering response as well as ride quality.
By improving fuel economy through better pressure retention, nitrogen inflation will reduce oil use and lower the amount of toxic emissions entering our atmosphere. It is estimated that, if everyone in the US had the correct pressure in their tires, almost 4 billion gallons of fuel would be saved each year! That’s 79 billion tons of carbon dioxide that wouldn’t go into the air we breathe.
If everyone used nitrogen, the demand for new tires would also be reduced. Manufacturing fewer tires would decrease pressure on natural resources used in the process, lower toxic emissions from manufacturing plants, decrease shipping of tires and reduce the number of tires going to landfills.