Chicago Motorists Aghast Over Gas Prices

April 15, 2011

With the price of gas topping $4 a gallon these days, most Chicago residents would like to leave their cars parked at home.

And, if one alderman has his way, the cost for city stickers will go up as well.

We have some tips for saving money on gas, another way to save on car insurance and a Chicago neighborhood to avoid that will definitely drain your tank Friday.

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construction at wacker and randolph

Area of Wacker and Randolph: Avoid.

Let’s start with the latter. Motorists should stay away from Wacker Drive and Lake Street while the intersection of Wacker and Randolph is rebuilt as part of the Revive Wacker Drive project.

Crews will spend about eight hours pouring 1,100 cubic yards of concrete, which is equivalent to about 18 city blocks of sidewalk, or 2.25 miles.

If you must be in the area, Lower Wacker is still open to traffic.

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With gas prices on the rise and no end in sight, many Americans are wishing they owned electric cars, and one Chicago alderman wants to give residents another incentive to do so.

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Ald. Proco Joe Moreno of the 1st ward introduced a proposed ordinance that would raise fees for city stickers on all cars but environmentally friendly ones.

chicago city stickerRight now, city stickers cost $75. If Moreno gets his way, that fee would increase to $95. SUV stickers, which cost $120, would increase to $155, small trucks would go from $180 to $220 and large trucks $420 to $455.

Stickers would be $25 for small hybrids and $65 for large ones.

Stickers for electric cars: free.

The alderman says sticker prices haven’t changed in more than 10 years and that his proposal could bring in an extra $21 million a year for the city.

The ordinance now goes to Ald. Edward Burke’s Finance Committee.

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If you have OnStar in your car and State Farm for your auto insurance, you might be able to save some money next year.

Bloomington-based State Farm announced a new Drive Safe and Save program available to Illinois policy holders who have an OnStar device in their cars.

Through the OnStar’s tracking tool, the Bloomington-based company will see how much a customer drives. The less a vehicle is driven, the more savings on the premium the insurance holder achieves.

Might even inspire someone to do a little more walking, huh?

For information on the program and to see how much you can save, visit statefarm.com.

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Busy street in downtown chicago on a very hot dayYou have to drive, you have no choice. But you do have a choice on how you drive, and that can make a difference in how much gas you use.

“Gas prices have risen 81 cents since the beginning of this year alone, and with the summer demand season upon us, there’s no relief in sight, unfortunately,” said Beth Mosher, director of public affairs for AAA Chicago.

“Consumers can get better bang for their gasoline bucks by slowing down, ensuring their tires are properly inflated and consolidating their errands.”

Here are some more tips for saving at the pump:

*Slow down: It’s true, lower speeds save gas, so drive the speed limit. For every five miles per hour you drive over 60 mph, you pay 24 more cents per gallon of gas. Leave a little earlier if you need to and stay out of the fast lane.

*Cruise it: Utilizing your cruise control can save you up to 14 percent in gas, unless you are in a very hilly area. Not a concern for Chicago roads. If you have it, use it.

*Don’t idle: If you are staying still for more than a minute, turn off the engine. Despite past theories, it costs more gas to keep it running than to stop and start it again.

*Click it: After you fill up your gas tank, make sure the gas cap clicks three times. More than 147 million gallons of fuel is vaporized from tanks throughout the country each year because of loose gas caps.

*Fill in the a.m.: When it’s colder outside, the gas is more dense, which means you’ll get more gas. When temps are warmer, the gas expands, so fill up early in the day.

*Dump junk: Added weight can drag down vehicles and make them work harder, thereby using more gas. Get rid of what you don’t need.

*Search web: Don’t drive around looking for lower gas prices. Check out AAAmaps.com to find cheap gas prices in your neighborhood.

Just don’t do it while you are driving.

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