Advertisement

California Says Yes to Tire-Pressure Checks, No to Banning Black Cars

Follow John

Flat tire, by Flickr user Lissalou66

Flat tire, by Flickr user Lissalou66

Enlarge Photo

Barack Obama was widely derided for suggesting last August during the presidential election campaign that if Americans kept their tires properly inflated, the nation could conserve as much oil as would be gained from the increased offshore drilling proposed by his rival.

As LA Times columnist Dan Neil noted: When it comes to politics, conservation doesn't sell. Many Americans are allergic to the suggestion that they should change behavior or moderate consumption, particularly when it comes to their automobiles.

Nonetheless, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has now taken a small step toward better inflated tires. A new regulation adopted yesterday requires smog-check stations, engine repair shops, and oil service stations to check the tire pressure on every vehicle they service, starting in July 2010.

CARB says if all Californians kept their tires properly inflated, they could save 75 million gallons of gasoline and use 700,000 fewer tires every year. And the Rubber Manufacturers Association concurs, noting the clear safety benefits from properly inflated tires as well. The Board is also urging the US Environmental Protection Agency to adopt similar regulations nationwide.

It's not clear, however, whether the need for such checks will abate over time as mandated tire-pressure monitoring systems make their way into the fleet. That story goes back to 2000, when Firestone recalled 14.4 million tires used on Ford SUVs. That followed massive media coverage of reports that underinflated tires failed suddenly when they became hot, causing Ford Explorers in particular to roll over and kill their occupants.

That led to the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD) Act of 2002, which directed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue regulations requiring automakers to install tire-pressure monitoring systems in new cars and light trucks. Those regulations were issued in 2002; while systems are now showing up in certain new vehicles, litigation over implementation and their effectiveness continues.

While regulation of cars and how they function is clearly on the upswing, you can cross one item off the list: CARB does not intend to ban the sale of black cars.

Why would such an idea have arisen in the first place? The genesis is hazy, but the thinking goes something like this: Black cars absorb more heat from the sun, so their air conditioning has to work harder to cool them, which increases fuel usage, thereby raising the car's greenhouse gas emissions ... and so CARB decided to ban them?

Well, no. It didn't. It never even considered doing so, it says, calling the idea "completely fallacious". But, you know, these rumors do sometimes take on a life of their own out there on the Interwebs and talk radio.

The genesis of the rumor turns out to be a draft CARB proposal to reduce auto air-conditioning use by increasing the reflectiveness of car paints. In the end, the agency concluded the proposal was technically unworkable, and killed it.

So rest assured, black-car fans, California has your back. They'd like you to keep the A/C to a minimum, but black is still beautiful.

Black Saleen Mustang by Flickr user CalifDreama

Black Saleen Mustang by Flickr user CalifDreama

Enlarge Photo

[SOURCES: The always excellent Snopes.com, sourced to the San Jose Mercury News; PHOTOS: Flickr users Lissalou66 and CalifDreama]

Posted in:
Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comment (1)
  1. CARB is a criminal organization. CARB is not regulated in that it passes laws without the consent of the people that it impacts. CARB that costs the taxpayers more than $1B in direct operating costs for the "department". It likely impacts the economy of California negatively by more than $10B in lost opportunities, excessive emission repairs with no benefit to the air and frustration of business that causes movement of revenue out of the state. Pay a billion to lose ten more. California has entered a new era of illogic and self inflicted loss of opportunity and freedom.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Advertisement

Get FREE Dealer Quotes

From dealers near you
Go!

Find Green Cars

Go!

Advertisement

 
© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.