While driving for several hours on I-5 yesterday I did my usual road survey of what sort of junk was sitting on the side of the road. There was a mattress and box spring set. There were a couple of coolers and some tarps and sheet plastic. In the road kill department there were two raccoons and a deer. Not bad. I’ve seen worse debris before.
One thing I was shocked by was the amount of tire retreads. I don’t think a mile passed without seeing a big chunk if not entire bands of tire tread. It made me wonder why any trucker would want to use a re-treaded tire. It seems like a major safety issue, though with all the highway driving I’ve done over the last 37 years I’ve never seen a retread or a cap come off a truck. However the highway is littered with them.
I figured I’d visit a web site about retreads, also known as recaps and I found some interesting stats about this product and process. A new truck tire sells for around $275 and a recap costs $90. The per-mile cost $0.00076 for a new tire and $0.00042 for the recap. Making retreads saves over 400 million gallons of oil in North America as opposed to if they were producing full tires.
The site made the recap sound like a good deal, but I still wouldn’t use them on my vehicles. Maybe I would use them on my lawn mower. With all the rubber I saw on the side of the road I can’t imagine that it could be cost effective in comparison with the inconvenience and the down time created when one loses a tread. Had I collected all the recaps along the highway I could have easily filled the bed of my truck within 30 miles.