At the time of this post, the world is again being thrust into Broadway-style drama with Russia invading Ukraine with conjecture toward China and whether or not it’s going to act upon decades of threats to invade Taiwan. You may be asking: what do current events have to do with my hobby of off-roading, four-wheeling, or driving in general? The answer is simple: the activities around the world are having a tremendous impact on inflation, fuel-prices, and costs of materials (steel, for example). It’s not news at this point that inflation is the highest it’s ever been in recent times (7.9%) and gas prices are hitting stratospheric levels in the United States.
The way I look at is this: 4-wheeling is an expensive hobby as it is. For my Jeep Wrangler, I am spending a lot of money to replace the front axle, put larger off-road tires (37s this time, maybe 40s next?!) on it, increase lift height, adding gears, and the list seems to go on an on…now the additional concern is becoming how much money will I spend at the gas pump to get my Jeep to the rock-crawling trails in Colorado like China Wall, Red Elephant Hill, and Hackett Gulch? Don’t even mention driving/towing the Jeep to Utah for the Moab trails: Hell’s Revenge, Steel Bender, and Fins N’ Things! I am planning on adventuring across the country for Thor’s Lightning Air Systems and my own bucket list: Sand Hollow, Utah, Morrison Jeep Trail in Wyoming, and Baja, Mexico.
All of those dreams seem to be taking a major hit right now given that gas could cost more than $5.00 a gallon over the summer with the current trajectory of world events. I could say “everything will work out,” and “where there’s a will, there’s a way!” but right now, I feel dejected. It’s times like these that I want to help my fellow hobbyists as much as possible. There’s a conversation that sticks out in my head that Derek and I had with a fellow Jeeper at the China Wall trailhead this past December. We were talking about airing-down and airing-up our tires before and after the trail (you’d be surprised how often off-roaders talk about this stuff!) The fellow Jeeper said that he didn’t bother airing his tires back up after the trail because of how time consuming it was, and basically drove his Jeep Wrangler everywhere at a trail P.S.I. of 15-18.
Especially now, that kind of approach is going to cost him a lot of money- tire pressure has a noticeable impact on fuel economy. While I was writing this blog, I decided to do a deep dive into just how big of an impact tire pressure has on how much go-go juice your vehicle uses. According to the NHSTA (National Highway Safety Administration), a 1% decree in tire pressure has a 0.3% decrease in fuel economy. Now, I’m not going to go into the boring math of it all, but if you figure that dropping your tire pressure from 32 P.S.I. down to 18 P.S.I. is a 44% decrease, the numbers start to speak for themselves- assuming an average of 18 mpg for your off-road vehicle, the fuel economy is going to tumble to 15.5 mpg if you drive around at your trail-ready tire pressure!
If gas prices end up at $5.00 a gallon, getting air back into your tires after a trail run is not only going to make sense for tire wear and vehicle wear, but it’s also going to keep money in your wallet. This realization has made me understand that our company’s Air System products don’t just give you time back (through faster tire inflation and deflation), they don’t just lessen back pain (crouching down to air down/up), but they also genuinely save you money by making sure your tires are equalized at the same tire pressure at all four corners. I have to confess, it feels good to make a product that can help my favorite kinds of people (off-roaders!) in more ways than one. So much so, in fact, that my dreary mood seems to have lessened! That could also be the sun peeking out in Colorado finally….I want to go 4-wheel!