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Considering an Alternative Fuel Vehicle In Chicago?

There is a clear and vocal demand in Schaumburg and nationally for a reduction in air pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. This is what is driving the Illinois market for alternative fuel vehicles. There are a number of these vehicles on Chicago area roads today, and many more being developed. Yet each of these vehicles has its own advantages and disadvantages. Schaumburg auto owners should learn what these advantages and disadvantages are before running out and purchasing one of these alternative fuel vehicles at your nearest Chicago dealership.

Chicago auto owners should carefully research the car care before buying an alternative vehicle, as it may or may not coincide with the standards for gasoline vehicles. You should look at costs and gas mileage as well: these vehicles may help save our environment here in Schaumburg, but that might not represent a savings to your wallet. You’ll need to decide what you can afford, and what will work for your lifestyle. Also, your choice of vehicle may be affected by what fuels are available in your Chicago area. Switching to an alternative fuel vehicle is not a bad decision, but it should be a carefully considered one.

Flex Fuel Vehicles
Flex fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or on a combination of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Because of the 85% ethanol content, this fuel is commonly called E85 in Illinois.

Ethanol is made from corn. So flex fuel vehicles lessen our dependency on fossil fuels. But they also raise the price of corn, which is a basic foodstuff in some areas of the world. Whether replacing fossil fuels with corn is a good idea is hotly contested right now.

Flex fuel vehicles do have lower harmful exhaust emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles. And in Chicago, E85 is usually lower in cost than regular gasoline. When gasoline prices fall in Illinois, however, they can drop below the price of E85. This is to Schaumburg car owners’ advantage, since the vehicle can run on either fuel, but it negates the benefits of lowered exhaust emissions and lower consumption of fossil fuels.

One piece of Schaumburg Automedics auto advice before we move on: do not put E85 into your sedan unless it has an engine designed for flex fuels. Because of the high ethanol content in E85, engines need special seals and gaskets to function properly on this fuel. Running an ordinary engine with E85 can lead to gas leaks and fires.

Diesel
Diesel engines are nothing new on Illinois freeways, and many get great gas mileage. Diesel fuel can now be made from vegetable oil and other renewable sources. A diesel fuel made from algae will soon be on the market in Chicago.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is less expensive than gasoline in Schaumburg and burns more cleanly. Also, gasoline engines can be adapted to run on compressed natural gas, and many natural gas vehicles are already on Itasca roads. You can even install a special pump in your home gas line to use to fuel your vehicle. If you are interested in converting your gasoline engine to run on CNG in Schaumburg, ask your Schaumburg Automedics tech about it.

On the other hand, an engine running on natural gas is not as powerful as one running on gasoline, and it will get lower fuel economy. Also, the tank you need to store natural gas is large—it takes up nearly the entire trunk of your car. Further, refueling stations are still few and far between in some Illinois areas, or even unavailable, in many parts of the country.

Hydrogen
Another alternative fuel that has enjoyed a lot of hype in Chicago is the hydrogen cell. The natural appeal is that the only exhaust is water vapor. In other words, hydrogen represents a truly clean-burning fuel. But hydrogen vehicles won’t come into widespread use until refueling stations become widely available here in Schaumburg and around the country.

Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles were all the rage in Illinois some years ago. But their limitations were quickly realized by Schaumburg car owners. These vehicles won’t come into their own until we find ways to improve their batteries. Currently, the cars have a short range before their power runs out, and can only be realistically used close to home. However, they are easy to recharge, since they can be plugged in at home, and there are many researchers working on improving the battery technology in these vehicles. They may yet be the vehicles of the future.

Hybrids
Hybrids have been one of the most successful alternative fuel vehicles here in Schaumburg and throughout the county. A hybrid gets its name because it has both a gas or diesel engine and an electric motor.

There are two types of hybrids. The full-hybrid relies on the electric motor for power, but the gas (or diesel) engine generates power for the battery. Thus, while still consuming fossil fuels, it uses less of them than a standard automobile, and also reduces harmful pollutants. Also, it overcomes the range problem of the strictly electric vehicle.

In a mild hybrid, the electric motor assists the gas or diesel engine in powering the car. Thus, it uses more gasoline or diesel than full hybrids and has higher emissions. But mild hybrids are available in larger body models like full-size pickups and SUV’s.

A Note of Caution about Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
One last note before we leave the subject of alternative fuel vehicles. The battery in an electric or hybrid vehicle is not as tame as the one in a standard vehicle. They carry enough voltage to kill you. These are not do-it-yourself vehicles when it comes to preventive maintenance or car care. Only a trained technician should work under their hoods.

Can Car Scent Keep You Safe On Illinois Roads?

Here’s a travel tip that’ll I’ll bet you didn’t know, and, it might keep you safer…

The average American commuter in Illinois spends two and a half hours daily in their car.

The government says a hundred thousand auto accidents yearly are caused by drivers who fall asleep at the wheel. (Aggressive driving is the number one traffic safety concern.)

So what does this have to do with how your car smells while you’re driving around Illinois?

Well, which scent did you think makes drivers more alert?

Is it:

  • A. Strawberry
  • B. New Car
  • C. Pine
  • D. Warm Vanilla Breeze

It’s C. Drivers are more alert and have less fatigue with pine scent in the car, according to AroMetrics.

And, drivers were less angry with overall improved driving performance with strawberry and pine scents.

And you thought they just smelled nice.

Schaumburg Automedics
503 Lunt Avenue
Schaumburg, Illinois 60193
847-352-2886

Are There Blind Spots In Schaumburg Illinois?

Everyone in Schaumburg Illinois has blind spots – and no, I’m not talking about the fact that you really don’t sing like Jessica Simpson. I mean the areas of the road that you can’t see when you’re driving around Schaumburg.

First let’s talk about our own blinds spots, and then we can talk about others…

To begin, we can greatly reduce our blind spots by properly adjusting our mirrors to give the widest coverage possible. Make the adjustments in your sedan before you start to drive.

First, adjust your rear view mirror to give the best possible view directly to the rear of your car. You don’t need it to get a better view of either side of the car, the kids in the back seat or your dazzling smile. The rear view mirror should look to the rear.

Next, lean your head until it almost touches the driver’s side window. Adjust your side mirror so that you can just barely see the side of your car.

Schaumburg Automedics
We’re on 503 Lunt Avenue in Schaumburg, Illinois (60193)
Call us to make an appointment at 847-352-2886.

Now, lean your head to the middle of the car and adjust the outside mirror so that you can barely see the right side of the car.

With your mirrors adjusted this way, you’ll have maximum coverage. Of course driving is a dynamic process – things change every second. So it’s wise to take a quick look to the side when passing to make sure that another vehicle hasn’t moved into an area you couldn’t see in your mirrors.

Depending on the kind of vehicle you drive (sedan?), you may still have some blind spots. All vehicles have an area behind them that’s blind when backing up. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. A pick up or SUV can hide a small child – an RV, bus or tractor-trailer can hide an entire vehicle. So be careful around our Schaumburg streets!

As you drive around the Chicago area, avoid staying in other diver’s blind spots. You can’t count on them to be watching their mirrors and looking out for you.

Let’s talk about safely sharing the road with heavy trucks and buses. In crashes involving a truck and car, the car causes about 40 percent of the accidents. But 78 percent of the fatalities are with the car. The laws of physics are against the smaller vehicle, so it pays to take extra precautions around trucks and buses.

Heavy vehicles have huge blind spots: to the rear, on both sides and up front. They also can’t maneuver like a car. They take twice as long to stop and need twice as much space as you do in your sedan or other type of car. You need to keep wide margins when driving around one of these big rigs.

Here are some tips for passing a heavy vehicle in the Chicago area:

  • Avoid the blind spots. If you can’t see the driver’s face in one of his mirrors or in a window, he cannot see you!
  • Don’t follow too close. If you can’t see one of the truck’s mirrors, you’re too close.
  • Make sure there is plenty of room to pass. Trucks are long and take time to get around. If you’re on one of our local Schaumburg Illinois two way highways, wait for a passing zone.
  • Don’t linger when passing. Because the blind spots are so big on the sides, you want to get through them quickly. If you can’t pass quickly, drop back.
  • Pass on the left whenever possible. A trucks’ blind spot is much larger on the right.
  • Be attentive and wear your seat belts while driving anywhere around Schaumburg, even short drives.
  • Don’t be aggressive when driving around trucks. Because of their size, they appear to be going slower than they really are. Cutting it short around a truck could be disastrous.
  • Use your turn signals when starting to pass. Once you can see the full truck in your rear view mirror, it’s safe to signal and move over. Don’t cut it short or slow quickly when you pull in front of a truck.
  • Be careful passing a truck at an intersection. Trucks need to turn wide to maneuver through city streets. Squeezing between a truck and the curb could put your car in the Schaumburg body shop. Look for the truck’s turn signals.

We at Schaumburg Automedics want you to watch those blind spots – but feel free to sing in the shower all you want.

 



 

Schaumburg Automedics Inc.

503 Lunt Avenue Schaumburg, IL 60193

Phone: 847-352-2886 | info@SCHAUMBURGAUTOMEDICS.COM

 

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