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By Samuel R. Avro on Mar 27, 2009 with no responses

Tire Pressure Presidential Campaign Joke Becomes Law in California

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It may have started out as a joke, but checking tire pressure is no laughing matter in California anymore.

Will the joke actually become part of Obama’s national energy plan?

During last year’s presidential campaign, Republicans mocked then-candidate Obama for suggesting that proper tire inflation would reduce the need for oil and should be part of an energy-conservation plan. But now the suggestion is becoming a regulation in California.

Under a new resolution adopted Thursday by the state Air Resources Board, maintenance shops will have to check the tire pressure of every vehicle they service.

Regulators say widespread awareness of having properly inflated tires could lead to California motorists saving 75 million gallons of gasoline a year and using 700,000 fewer tires.

The Republican National Committee and John McCain’s presidential campaign handed out pressure gauges labeled “Obama Energy Plan” in an effort to make a mockery of the comments. The issued died out after several days when McCain acknowledged that he also believed tire maintenance was a good idea.

“Under-inflated tires waste fuel, cause tires to wear out prematurely and increase drivers’ safety risk,” said Dan Zielinski, senior vice president with the Rubber Manufacturers Association, which represents tire manufacturers, in a news release. “This regulation will help protect California’s environment, help consumers save money in fuel and tire costs, and help Californians optimize vehicle safety.”

The rules, scheduled to take effect in July of 2010, apply to smog check stations, engine repair shops and oil service stations.

According to Department of Energy estimates, proper tire inflation can boost gas mileage by more than 3 percent. It recommends the step along with regular tuneups, replacing dirty air filters and removing unneeded items from the trunk.

“Checking tire pressure is one of the many simple things that we can all do to reduce our impact on the environment, said Air Resources Board member Barbara Riordan. “While we should do this monthly, this measure makes it convenient and regular.”

The Air Resources Board wants their plan to be taken to the national level, and ultimately spread across the globe. They are urging the Environmental Protection Agency to adopt similar requirements across the country.

“We are providing leadership not just for the country but the world,” said James Goldstene, the board’s executive officer.

So how funny would the joke be if it were to become even a minor detail of Obama’s energy plan?