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Nitrogen and Tire Underinflation

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Nitrogen and Tire

Air pollution and the effects of nitrogen are impossible to ignore in the news. Did you know that underinflation also causes nitrogen oxide emissions? In this blog, we would like to tell you more about it. 

Air pollution

There are many substances in the air that cause air pollution. They are harmful to the health of humans, animals, and the environment. The problem may be invisible, but it does not disappear. Even on nice days, the concentrations of pollutants can be well above the norm. 

Nitrogen oxides

Nitrogen monoxide (NO) is a gas that is produced during combustion processes. Diesel and gasoline engines also produce this gas. Chemical reactions occur at high temperatures, for example between nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (O2) from the air. In the air, the emitted nitrogen monoxide (NO) is converted quite rapidly into nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The sum of nitrogen monoxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is called nitrogen oxides (NOx). Traffic is a major producer of nitrogen oxides (NOx).

Nitrogen and Tire

These nitrogen oxides are incredibly harmful. They are at the source of smog, irritate the respiratory tract, deplete the ozone layer, and intensify the greenhouse effect. These oxides also end up in nature where they attack plants and cause the soil to become poor. This makes plants disappear, which in turn leads to animal deaths. After all, these animals live off these plants. Ultimately, biodiversity decreases in this way. 


Research by TNO and others (November 2011) shows that under-tensioning and the extra emission of NOx are related. The increased rolling resistance with under-tensioning results in higher fuel consumption. A diesel car that drives with an under-tension emits on average 0.9% extra NOx. For a petrol car, this is even more, namely 1.5%.

 Diesel carBenzine car
The investigated average effect per vehicle (Source, TNO report)[g/km] [%][g/km] [%]
NOx emission-0,006 -0,9%-0,0035 -1,5%
Diesel Car vs. Benzine Car

Reducing emissions is incredibly important, as the impact is significant. Even if it only makes a difference of 2 percent or so, it still has a lot of impacts. So check your tire pressure regularly and make sure it is correct. Timely inflation is key.

Want to be sure that you are not driving with under-inflated tires? Check your tires with the Smart Tire Pump

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