Obama's Tire Gaffe: A Gauge of his Veracity?

The now famous quote by Barrack Hussein Obama that Americans could save more oil by properly inflating their tires than we can get offshore has emerged as a real campaign issue. "There are things that you can do individually though to save energy," Sen. Barrack Obama, D-Illinois, said. "Making sure your tires are properly inflated, simple thing, but we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling, if everybody was just inflating their tires and getting regular tune-ups. You could actually save just as much." LINK

"The Department of Energy’s designated economist on this issue indicated that, of the 130 billion gallons of fuel that the Transportation Research Board (TRB)2 estimated were used in passenger cars and light trucks in 2005, about 1.2 billion gallons were wasted as a result of driving on underinflated tires." GAO, "Underinflated Tires in the United States" February 2007, p. 2.

Thus, the DOE uses a savings figure of 1% of transportation fuel. Even the environmental group, NRDC, only claims a 2% oil consumption reduction could be achieved by properly inflating all tires, while Obama's claim was that this was completely offset new offshore oil develoment (estimated to be 66 to 1216 billion barrels of oil or 3.6 TRILLION to 9.6 TRILLION gallons.

Left: Graphic from the U.S. Minerals Management Service (2008).

A one percent improvement is oil conservation for passenger cars and light trucks translates into even less of total oil consumption in the United States, because passenger cars used only 40% of for oil. Thus, the real savings of Obama's "plan" versus the total oil consumption in the US is 0.4% [1% of cars/light trucks times 0.4 of all oil used]. Expresed another way, using the lower OCS recoverable oil figure, Obama's suggestion could produce the same amount of oil as the OCS undeveloped potential is about 300 years.

Comparing Obama's tire inflation savings to foreign imports is just as bad. Total U.S. foreign oil imports (58% according to the Washington Post) are annually 140 times more than the hypothetical savings from his suggestion.

Perhaps more telling than his making the original gaffe, Obama's rebuttal (this was prepared) lies about the data, provides no source, and calls the other side ignorant: "The other thing is, they are making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by three to four percent," Obama said. "It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant. They think it's funny that they're making fun of something that is actually true."

Then when pushed further, the Obama campaign launches into its anti-big oil diatribe. Obama, at this point, is further lying outright about the facts. His campaign seems to get more big oil money than McCain's. LINK [Note: The biggest American opil company is only 14th largest in the world, so we should be complaining that we need to create more big American oil companies, not about the ones that we already have]. And the point to all of this was that Obama's argument about tire inflation, like all of the energy conservation pitches, has some net benefit but will never be sufficient to make a dent in future energy requirements without much more on the energy production aside.

The Presidential Debates this year will likely feature this Obama, the one with a relaxed attitude about facts and a low opinion of the audience's intelligence, not the teleprompter "animatron." This Obama (version 5.2) grew out of months of adoration by the media and the incredibly over-developed ego of a guy with only months of experience on the national scene. This Obama is slipping in the polls and starting to act like the novice that he is, not the Messiah that he pretended to be.


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