August 6, 2008

Follow-up on Obama’s ‘Tired’ Claim: Cliff’s Notes Version for Old Media (See ‘Speculative’ Update Below)

This Old Media fact-checker overview follows up on yesterday’s more detailed post, and makes mince meat of the “tired” claims of fuel and oil savings Barack Obama is still bitterly clinging to. Go back to that post for original links.

Here goes:

  • “….. all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling” Obama refers to is NOT just the 200,000 additional barrels obtainable from the “Pacific, Atlantic and eastern Gulf regions.” Republican proposals also include Alaska, shale oil, and tar sands.
  • Just including Alaska coastal at very conservative extraction assumptions leads to a potential of almost 1 million barrels of oil a day instead of only 200,000.
  • Fully ramped-up production from shale oil and tar sands at very conservative extraction assumptions would lead to a potential of another 27 million (you read that right) barrels a day.
  • The potential savings from proper tire inflation and tune-ups, which would improve fleetwide gas mileage by at most 2%, would be about 120,000 barrels a day, as only 30% of the nation’s 20 million barrels per day oil usage goes towards gasoline for vehicles. (2% times 30% times 20 million equals 120,000.) The remaining usage is 40% for other transportation (trucks using diesel, aviation, and trains) and 30% for non-transportation uses.
  • This 120,000 barrels in potential savings (which I believe is STILL higher than realistically achievable), is only 60% of the additional oil obtainable from “Pacific, Atlantic and eastern Gulf regions,” about 12% of what is obtainable from all US coasts, and less than 1% of what is obtainable from all sources, including shale and tar sands.
  • The idea that proper tire inflation and tune-ups could reduce daily oil consumption by 800,000 barrels, or 4% of ALL oil usage, as Obama defenders are claiming, is absurd on its face.

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UPDATE: The PolitiFact post defending Obama’s “tired” claims has this claim –

The best estimate available, by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is that at least a quarter of drivers are cruising around on under-inflated tires. In April, the Rubber Manufacturers Association, the Auto Club, the California Highway Patrol and Yokohama Tire Company used those statistics, along with Department of Transportation and Automobile Association of America data, to extrapolate that 2.8-billion gallons of gas are lost every year due to under-inflation of tires.

That’s an estimate, to be sure, and not one from a published, peer-reviewed study. But remember, Obama said we “could” save all the oil available from offshore drilling in the protected areas — not we “would” — so if the claim is merely plausible he’s on solid ground.

But go back to the original link, and notice how the verb changed:

“Current statistics indicate that 82 million vehicles have under-inflated tires, which means more rubber is hitting the road and, accordingly, miles-per-gallon is lessened. In fact, tire experts speculate that 2.8 billion gallons of gas is wasted by U.S. drivers each year simply because they’re driving on under-inflated tires.”

SPECULATE?

SPECULATE?

That’s a far cry from “extrapolate.”

According to Wiki, there were just under 251 million registered vehicles in the US in 2006. 82 divided by 260 (to allow for a little growth and a number of unregistered vehicles) is 31.5%, NOT “at least a quarter.” Sorry, speculators; that 2.8 billion gallons just dropped to 2.22 billion (2.8 times 25 divided by 31.5).

Now divide 2.22 billion by 19.5 gallons of gas obtained from each barrel of oil, and then by 365.25 days in a year, and you get 309,000 barrels a day supposedly saved through better tire inflation.

That is still (numbers are in the previous post):

  • less than one-third of the at least 986,000 daily barrels obtainable from all coastal drilling.
  • barely more than 1% of the 28 million-plus daily barrels obtainable from all sources — the coasts, shale, and tar sands.

Sorry, PolitiFact is Politi-Cracked.

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1 Comment

  1. Democrats ass u me everything. A small percentage of the vehicles on the road ‘may’ consistantly have low air pressure in a tire or tires, so a small amount of gas would be saved.

    Then most media outlets are exactly like the WaPo. 75% of a front page story (donations to McCain) is totally incorrect which could have been discovered with very little research. Did they make a mistake or just plain lie? Being the Lame Stream Media WaPo I opt for they plain lied.

    Comment by Scrapiron — August 6, 2008 @ 7:17 pm

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