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Colorless nitrogen helps Village to be greener

The Village of Downers Grove is converting to the use of nitrogen to inflate the tires of all Village vehicles and equipment. The advantages of nitrogen for tire inflation include improvements in a vehicle’s handling, fuel efficiency and tire life through better tire pressure retention, improved fuel economy and cooler running tire temperatures.

For years, nitrogen has been used by the aviation and auto racing industries, as well as the military and NASA . Since it is no longer prohibitively expensive to produce, nitrogen is becoming a popular and beneficial choice for fleet managers and consumers, as well. “With all of nitrogen’s benefits, we could not find a down side to making the switch”, said Larry Humphries, Fleet Services Manager for the Village.

Compared to inflating tires with oxygen, nitrogen permeates more slowly and maintains proper tire pressure longer. Tires filled with compressed air typically lose 1-2 psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure every month through normal permeation, but it takes several months for a nitrogen filled tire to lose a single pound of pressure. Properly inflated tires increase a vehicle’s gas mileage by 3.3%, which translates into fewer toxins being emitted into the environment, as well as fuel savings.

Since nitrogen is a moisture-free gas, it slows down internal tire oxidation and extends the life of the tire. Industry field tests suggest tires inflated with nitrogen can last up to 25% longer, resulting in a cost savings to the Village.

Humphries said he hopes to have all tires converted to nitrogen use by the end of May.

For years, nitrogen has been used by the aviation and auto racing industries, as well as the military and NASA . Since it is no longer prohibitively expensive to produce, nitrogen is becoming a popular and beneficial choice for fleet managers and consumers, as well. “With all of nitrogen’s benefits, we could not find a down side to making the switch”, said Larry Humphries, Fleet Services Manager for the Village.