In a recent debate in the current session of the Parliament, Nitin Gadkari, the minister for Road Transport and Highways spoke about the idea that the government is mulling over. He stated that the central government is currently thinking over making nitrogen gas in tyres of vehicles mandatory all over the country. If the government brings this rule into effect, it would mean that the vehicles plying on the roads of the country will have to make the mandatory switch from normal air in the tyres to nitrogen. Currently, only a small fraction of vehicles on the roads of India use nitrogen in the tyres as the trend is not so widespread and the availability of nitrogen at all the filling stations is also an issue.
When asked a question regarding the high number of traffic accidents on the Yamuna Expressway, Mr. Gadkari spoke in the Rajya Sabha,
“till now we did not know about how tyres manufactured in India matched up to those manufactured as per international standards. In America and other western nations, silicon is added to the rubber in tyres. This ensures that there are less complaints about tyre bursts. Second, if instead of normal air, nitrogen is used in tyres, it stays cool. We are thinking of making both these things mandatory,”
Not just nitrogen in tyres, the government is also mulling making the usage of silicon in tyres a must all over the country. This along with nitrogen in tyres is aimed at reducing the number of accidents due to tyre burst in the country. Accidents due to tyre bursts are a major issue in the nation, especially on the concrete roads in the country.
Speaking of nitrogen usage in tyres, this is a trend that came into the mass market car sector from the racing car sphere and aviation industry. Since racing cars and aeroplanes both are heavy duty machines, the nitrogen inside the tyres helps keep things cool as the temperature involved there is very high. This prevents the tyres of race cars or aeroplanes from bursting even when they are running in high temperature range. The major advantage with using nitrogen in tyres is that it does not escape easily from the tyres even at higher temperatures, thereby maintaining the tyre pressure at an optimum level. A side advantage is also that nitrogen filled tyres keep the moisture away more effectively than tyres with regular air, hence, preventing the rims from rusting easily.
However, there is another side to the story as well and this presents some challenges. The first challenge is the cost involved in using nitrogen in tyres is significantly higher. Then comes the part about limited availability of nitrogen filling stations. A lot of filling stations or shops also do not have the necessary equipment needed to create vacuum in the tyre for filling nitrogen in the tyres for the first time. Nonetheless, since the government is mulling over the move, only time will tell whether the rule comes into effect.