UK motorists waste up to £1 billion due to underinflated tyres – TyreSafe research

Published by Andrew Bogie
20th October 2021
UK motorists waste up to £1 billion due to underinflated tyres – TyreSafe research

New research by TyreSafe suggests UK motorists are wasting between £600 million and £1 billion on unnecessary fuel bills driving on underinflated tyres. The road safety campaign group used information sourced from the Department for Transport, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, and Michelin’s Fill Up With Air annual survey to model the effects of tyre underinflation on motorists’ wallets.

According to Michelin’s survey, 57 per cent of vehicles on British roads are being driven on underinflated tyres. This causes the engine to use more fuel as it must work harder to turn the wheels. The vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure settings ensure fuel consumption and the tyre’s performance are optimal, so even a difference of just 4psi has a negative impact. The more underinflated a tyre is, the more fuel the vehicle will use.

Underinflation also causes tyres to wear more quickly, making it necessary to replace them more often.

What’s Stopping You?

Not only does driving with underinflated tyres hurt your wallet but it also increases the risk of being involved in a tyre-related incident. Using the correct pressure settings ensures braking and cornering performance is optimal, so driving with underinflated tyres will make the vehicle less enjoyable to drive and, more importantly, more difficult to control.

There are no benefits to driving with underinflated tyres yet there are significant issues. Tyre Safety Month every October seeks to raise awareness of the pitfalls of underinflated tyres. This year’s campaign asks a direct question of Britain’s motorists about carrying out regular tyre safety checks – What’s Stopping You?

Correct tyre pressures are shown on a sticker in your car’s door shut, filler cap or in the owner’s manual. Use an accurate pressure gauge to ensure they are right for the load as part of your pre-journey planning and always check your tyre pressures when the tyre is cold. TyreSafe recommends that drivers perform checks on their tyres once a month and before long journeys.

More information can be found at tyresafe.org.

Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe Chair, said: “The number of drivers still neglecting to check their tyres is startling, and Tyre Safety Month is another opportunity to drive home the message of the potential stakes involved in tyre safety, particularly ahead of more adverse road conditions during the winter months. Whether it’s yourself, loved ones travelling with you or other road users, checking your tyres once a month could truly save lives and money.

TyreSafe’s methodology to estimate fuel wasted via underinflation

To reach its £600 million estimate, TyreSafe used official fuel consumption figures at current petrol and diesel prices. The £1 billion estimate assumes a 40 per cent increase in fuel consumption under real world driving condition compared with official fuel consumption figures.