As well as being used for its many valuable and unique applications, nitrogen for use in tyres – as currently being adapted in Queensland, Australia – is being promoted in the US as a superior alternative to commonly used compressed air.
Already used for years by motor racing teams, the aviation industry and some military sectors, purified nitrogen is a more stable source and produces more consistent inflation pressure even during severe temperature changes than compressed air, which can contain contaminants.
A number of large auto-supply chains, service stores, tyre dealers and other stores in the US are offering nitrogen inflation and it is an option becoming more widely available across the country.
The gas, which comprises around 78% of air, is typically pumped into tyres from simple storage tanks or increasingly from complex equipment that separates nitrogen from the surrounding air.
Filling up with nitrogen can be a little expensive at between $3-5 per tyre, but affords many benefits including better fuel economy, improved handling and longer life as nitrogen-filled tyres maintain pressure better and the advantages this offers.