Sometimes, little things can make a big difference.

Tire pressure can have a significant effect on fuel economy, but checking it generally requires unscrewing a valve cap and checking it with a pressure gauge (unless your new car has tire-pressure sensors and a dashboard display that shows the readings).

Wouldn't it be handy to have a set of valve caps that change color with pressure?

This concept has been around for some time, but now a company called RightPSI says it has a new and better design--and the founder is trying to crowd-source funds to develop it.

RightPSI's pressure indicator is visible from 20 feet away, the company says: The cap starts out black, turns orange when pressure is low, and yellow when a tire is overfilled.

The cap also has an opening at each end, allowing owners to fill tires without removing it. Right PSI says its design is less prone to leaks than comparable earlier products.

The company plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to help acquire tooling needed for production, and hopes to have its product on sale by early 2014.

RightPSI says properly inflated tires will increase the average driver's fuel efficiency by 3.3 percent, and increase tire life by 1,100 miles.

The importance of proper tire inflation has even created a bit of political drama over the past few years.

During the 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama famously stated that if Americans kept their tires inflated, the nation could conserve as much oil as would be gained from the increased offshore drilling favored by his opponent.

The California Air Resources Board has calculated that properly-inflated tires could save state residents 75 million gallons of gasoline and 700,000 tires per year.

The board now requires smog-check stations, engine repair shops, and oil service stations to check the tire pressure on every vehicle they service.


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