If Hankook Tire Co. Ltd.'s Ray Labuda had his way, gas stations nationwide would offer air for free to anyone needing to inflate their tires-no ifs, ands or buts.
The vice president of tire technology at the company's Akron Technical Center feels so passionate about this that he thinks Congress ought to make it a law.
``I can't understand why the government permits somebody to sell air,'' he said. ``I think it should be required that all gas stations that have an air pump have it for free. Why are we discouraging people from maintaining their tires?''
Today, some gas stations no longer offer the use of an air pump to their customers and of those that do, many charge for it-with 50 cents for several minutes worth not uncommon.
But this flies in the face of what every tire engineer and tire service professional knows-that keeping tires properly inflated is the most important safety procedure drivers can perform on their vehicles.
``My dad ran a gas station,'' Mr. Labuda said. ``It doesn't cost any money to run an air compressor, which (the station) needs anyway.''
So, he maintains, Congress ought to do something about mandating free air. ``If you're going to send something to Congress, that should be part of the TREAD Act,'' he said.