In her August 4 blog post -- "Energy fueling Monday's agenda. Obama, 47 today, acts, McCain reacts" -- Chicago Sun-Times Washington bureau chief Lynn Sweet glossed over a ludicrous statement by Sen. Barack Obama wherein the presumptive Democratic nominee suggested that properly inflating tires would eliminate the need to drill for more domestic oil.
Sweet noted that Republicans are :
[P]laying defense, because talking about oil prices is the Obama team agenda--are offering tire gauges to reporters, mocking Obama for suggesting that people keep their tires inflated properly in order to save gas.
But the Illinois senator didn't just echo some public service announcment about how properly inflated tires improve fuel economy. What Obama critics are making light of is this recent comment from last week where he suggested it does much, much more. It would eliminate our need to drill for more oil (emphasis mine):
"There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy," Obama 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'd actually save just as much!"
As I mentioned in my July 31 blog, Power Line's John Hinderaker demonstrated how Obama's claims are not just silly-sounding, they are mathematically impossible.:
Americans drive approximately 2,880 billion miles per year. If we average 24 mpg, we use around 120 billion gallons of gasoline in our vehicles. If, through perfect tire inflation, we improved our collective fuel efficiency by 1.5%, that would be 1.8 billion gallons. A barrel of oil produces around 20 gallons of gasoline, so the total savings available through tire inflation is approximately 90,000,000 barrels of oil annually.
How does this stack up against "all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling?"
ANWR: 10 billion barrels
Outer Continental Shelf: 18 billion barrels (estimated; the actual total is undoubtedly much higher, since exploration has been banned)
Oil shale: 1 trillion barrels
So, on the above assumptions, it would take only 11,308 years of proper tire inflation to equal "all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling."