By now most drivers know that keeping their tires properly inflated saves gas and reduces CO2 and road wear. But how many people check their tire pressure regularly, and how often? Goodyear announced a new tire that would maintain its pressure automatically.
A sensor in its sidewall watches the pressure and, when it drops too low, opens an air flow tube. As the tire rolls and presses against the ground, it deforms slightly, which forces the air through the tube and into the tire. Once the tire is properly inflated again, the valve closes.
Goodyear will first sell the product to commercial trucks, a fleet of which will test the new design in 2013. According to the company, tires are the largest maintenance cost for truck fleet operators and contribute to more than 50% of commercial breakdowns.
Properly inflated tires could last longer and, considering the mileage that truck drivers clock a year, save them quite a bit of money on fuel. For motorists who think it would be good news to get a set of these on their cars, too, is a consumer version in the works? "Yes," says Goodyear spokesman Kerry Christopher, "we’re working as fast as we can."