Monday, March 09, 2009

The Results are In...


Regular readers of my column in Hometown News and my blog, may be tired of reading about nitrogen. This will be my 4th column in 3 years reaffirming that paying somebody to inflate your tires with nitrogen is waste of your hard earned money. Earlier columns are entitled “Don’t Pay for Nitrogen in Your Tires”, “Nitrogen and Shark Cartilage”, and “Nitrogen Scam Foisted on Palm Tran”.

What amazes me is how hard it is to put this nitrogen myth to rest. On my radio show last Saturday [Seaview AM 960 from 9-10 am], a caller told me she had paid a service department $8 per tire to fill her tires with nitrogen. She proceeded to tell me that she came back frequently to this service department so that they would add nitrogen to her tires “at no charge”. She was very happy with this arrangement. Her service department is the one that should really be happy! First they sold her a worthless product for $32 that might have cost them a total of $1.00. Secondly, they have her coming back to their auto service company regularly so that they can “inspect her vehicle” just in case there is further service she should pay them to do.

In my article, “Nitrogen Scam Foisted on Palm Tran” I asked Chuck Cohen, the Executive Director of Palm Beach County’s bus system, why he was spending $65,000 in taxpayers money for a worthless product. In email correspondence, Chuck of course disagreed with me. He told me that he would be testing the nitrogen in his bus’s tires to be sure that they did give them better fuel economy. The buses average about 4 miles per gallon of diesel fuel. I asked Chuck why he had to spend more tax payer’s money for tests when Consumer Reports had already conducted an extensive one year test of all makes of tires and come to the conclusion that nitrogen in your tires is no better than air. This is no surprise to those who know that air is comprised of 78% nitrogen.

Chuck Cohen’s assistant, Lorraine Szyms, sent me a copy of the final tests on Palm Tran’s tires on March 4. The tests were completed on January 30 by the Department of Mathematical Sciences Florida Atlantic University and Harold Herzlich of Herzlich Consulting, Inc. I’m not sure why it took so long for her to email me the test results. The test results are 8 pages long and you can read them in their entirety by clicking on this article on my blog,

After reading through 8 pages of “techni-speak” by the FAU mathematics professors and Harold Herzlich, the fact that nitrogen was proven to be worthless for improving fuel economy was restated several times. The clearest phrase I could fine was, “From the previous data analysis we conclude that there is yet no observable effect in the fuel efficiency due to nitrogen tire inflation for the group of buses in this experiment”.

What concerns me is that there is clearly an effort under way to do more tests. Note the word, “yet” that Harold Herzlich used above. In the summary at the end of the test, it is stated, “Palm Tran is currently conducting further analysis using an electronic pressure sensor monitoring device that captures the tire pressure electronically”. The results of this testing should be completed by June 2009. Further more, Herzlich Consulting, Inc. is suggesting that they do more test too. This is no surprise, that’s how they make their money...doing testing.

It’s pretty obvious that the tests results are an embarrassment to Chuck Cohen and those “remaining members” of the Palm Beach County Commission who authorized the “Nitrogen Scam”. I guess they think if they can keep on testing, they never have to admit they were wrong. Other than the obvious problem with this scenario, is the additional cost of testing. I think that Karen Marcus and the “remaining” county commissioners owe it to the Palm Beach County taxpayers to draw the line and end this now. The taxpayers are already out $65,000 for the nitrogen apparatus. I want to know how much Palm Beach County paid FAU and Herzlich Consulting, Inc. for the first tests that proved nitrogen in their bus tires does not improve fuel mileage. I would also like to know how they chose Herzlich Consulting, Inc. Did they get competitive bids? Did they get bids from PBCC, FAU, and University of Florida? How much are these new tests with their “electronic pressure sensors” that Palm Tran itself is conducting costing us?

In case Chuck Cohen hasn’t been reading the newspapers or watching the news lately, our country is going through the greatest economic crisis since the great depression. It’s bad enough that his buses cost a $half-million each, get 4 miles to the gallon, and average less than 20% occupancy [it would be less expensive for the tax payers to pay “cab fare” for the handful of people riding Palm Tran]. Municipalities and counties are desperately looking for ways to cut spending so that they can continue to provide vital service to their citizen. We can’t afford to spend any more money to exonerate Chuck Cohen and the PB County Commission from another bad decision.

You can view the actual report here.


  1. Early,

    The only worthless thing around here is your worthless coments. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. It looks like you inhale Nitrogen once in a while, get all riled up and write a column. Your so called facts are almost as factual as :global warming". Have you been in tocuh with Al Gore lately?

  2. I suggest you RE-READ the published report Earl. Clearly, on the first page under "STUDY RESULTS" is your answer :

    8 out of 10 buses report HIGHER fuel economy while running nitrogen - it's in plain English Earl?

    Also, a quote from the report you obviously did not read :

    "There are too many scientifically demonstrated advantages to high purity nitrogen inflation to let this study be used as a basis for abandoning Palm's on-target effort to get more bang for the buck from their tires.”

    Lastly, the "big one" according to #6 in the summary "Data is influenced by weekly checking, monitoring and filling of tires, which adds significantly extra cost to any operation. A correct test would only have the currently practiced protocol for measuring and topping off tires.":

    As the testing was done, THE AIR INFLATED & NITROGEN INFLATED TIRES were BOTH topped off after they were tested & measured **WEEKLY**.

    This totally negates the testing in my opinion. Nitrogen benefits are rationalized over time while topping off weekly, whether nitrogen or air, simply isn't realistic at home or on fleets...

    It's nice how you seem to SPIN the facts to suit your beliefs. Let's see the "additional testing" that is being performed using electronic sensors before we jump to any conclusions people.

  3. Dear "anonymous 1& anonymous 2",

    Why don't you both admit that guys are selling nitrogen and hate me because I speak the truth? Why are you so afraid to identify yourselves?

    The testing methods were agreed upon by Palm Tran and the testing company. The conclusion of the test was that there was no measurable difference in fuel economy between pure 95% nitrogen and 78% [air]. Consumer Reports came to the same conclusion.

    You will continue to sell nitrogen to any gullible, unsuspecting customer you can get away with selling it to and no test results will make any difference.

  4. I'm afraid Stewart is right on this one fellas. One could argue that there is less leakage with nitrogen on a fractionally microscopic level - but it is such a miniscule advantage that it makes no sense to sell it for any amount of money. That is the point he is making, that it is unethical to convince consumers it is something parting with their hard earned money for. In today's economy, Stewart's advice is sorely needed.

  5. Don't avoid the question Earl.

    Please explain how the report STATES "8 out of 10 buses report GREATER fuel economy while running nitrogen"
    and you still claim it doesn't?

    Please explain...

  6. Earl,

    Answer the question! 8 out of 10 buses reported higher fuel economy while running on nitrgen inflated tires. That is a fact. I guess you do not like to dwell on facts. How typical! You should consider working for NBC. You would fit right in. Take half the facts; divide them by another half; then spin the story to your liking. Nitrogen is bigger than you and it has been proven beyond your silly blog.

  7. Walter and Anonymous:It's easy to point out "8 out of 10" showed better gas mileage with nitro-fill. What takes brains is to see there is a statistically insignificant difference. The average MPG of the air-filled tires was 3.9121 with a standard deviation of .1941. The average MPG of the nitro-fill tires was 3.9433 with a standard deviation of .2757. This means, statistically there actually is no meaningful difference. In layman's terms, the nitro-fill MPG was 3.9 and the air-filled MPG was 3.9.

    The only people putting a spin on this is you guys, not Earl. He posted the report on his blog. You think he didn't read it? The man's got a degree in physics.

    Earl, thanks for never speaking to the lowest common denominator like these bozos. Some of us with half a brain can see your point.

  8. Supporter,

    Obviously YOU didn't read the study either.

    Why do the buses receive "the same deviation?".....
    Well, every week, when the tires were measured and recorded, they were RE-INFLATED!!! Both, Nitrogen & Air.

    This negates the entire test.

    What is the #1 sales pitch of nitrogen? Since you don't know, I'll tell you.

    How can you measure this if your testing RE-INFLATES every week?

    Do you, Supporter or Earl, re-inflate your tires weekly? I highly doubt it.

    Had neither the air or nitrogen been re-inflated, you would see, after several months, that the air inflated tires lose pressure while the nitrogen inflated tires retain pressure, thus, ultimately INCREASING FUEL ECONOMY, not to mention, extending the usable life of the tread due to PROPER wearing.

    I guess you need a physics degree to decipher common sense!

  9. I hope this puts a stop to all your unsupported blow hole statements about Nitrogen in Tires. Here are the real facts directly from the Auto and Tire industry folks that further support Palm Beach County's nitrogen tire inflation program.
    At Clemson University's 2008 National Tire Conference results were presented concerning a field trial of nitrogen tire inflation in long haul trucking. Tire company scientists and others have since replicated these results with great success, and nitrogen tire inflation is today seen as an accepted money saving tool for fleet managers. At this year's Tire Conference held last week (April 1, 2009) in Hilton Head SC, test data showed similar results in diesel-powered mass transit buses, automobiles and light trucks operating in heavy urban traffic conditions. The presentation concluded that nitrogen tire inflation provides demonstrated benefits across a wide spectrum of vehicle types -from car to long haul transport - and operating parameters - congested urban conditions to predominantly highway driving. End of story.

  10. Anonymous said...April 06, 2009 2:24 PM-- Mr. Anonymous-- maybe you can post a link to the data you reference as back up for your position, just as Earl did for his..
    If it mirrors the data that Palm Tran paid for in order to support their position of pure nitrogen use in tires vs the 78% nitrogen in the air we breathe then it will also prove to be financially useless.
    Spending more taxpayer funds to study a failed study is something that can only be tolerated in an irresponsible government Boondoggle.


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