Pat Shingleton: "Tuning Up the A.C."
Open vehicle windows will cool the occupants through evaporation and closed windows reduce automobile drag and possibly less fuel consumption. In 1933, conditioned air was introduced for luxury cars and limousines and Packard’s were the first manufacturers to install them in their 1940 models. Twelve years later, air conditioning became a standard feature in the Chrysler Imperial. Since then, virtually all vehicles have air conditioning and around here it is certainly welcome. Experts suggest opening the windows before activating the AC controls. Research indicates that the car dashboard, seats and even air fresheners emit a cancer causing carcinogen called Benzene and a vehicle in direct sunlight at 60 degrees increases Benzene levels by 40 times over acceptable levels. These directives are also identified in your vehicle owner’s manual. Car manufacturers suggest vacating the internal heat by opening the windows first and activating the air conditioner-second. Researchers at ExxonMobil are extracting citrus oil from orange and lemon peels to eliminate Benzene in vehicles. The implementation of a hydrocarbon substitute involves manipulating molecules in similar ways that polymers are processed. As dashboards, steering wheels, seat covers and other plastic components have been implemented in the past, future vehicles may include the same components made from citrus products.