SPRINGFIELD – Building on efforts to help support Illinois’ farmers and to expand the use of clean and renewable energy, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a record use of biofuels and a dramatic increase of flexible fuel vehicles in the State’s motor vehicle fleet. Since April 2005, in response to a Governor’s Executive Order directing State agencies and employees to use biofuels, agencies have used more than 1 million gallons of E-85 and biodiesel to fuel their cars and trucks.
“Illinois has been a leader in expanding the use of E-85 and biodiesel. These homegrown fuels help make us less dependent on imported oil, create jobs, help farmers and protect our environment,” said Governor Blagojevich. “And our success at expanding our energy independence for State government shows that there is significant potential for our state as a whole. By harnessing Illinois’ own rich natural resources, we can become the first state to replace 50 percent of our fuel supply with homegrown alternatives like ethanol and biodiesel by 2017.”
Signed on April 12, 2004, Executive Order 7 directed State agencies and employees to use biofuels whenever possible and state purchasing experts to prioritize flexible fuel vehicles in fleet vehicle purchases. The Governor’s action has helped spur new consumer markets for the fuels as exhibited by the rapid spread of E-85 fueling stations across the state; when the Executive Order was signed, there were 25 stations, today there are about 130. Additionally, 77 percent of all fleet vehicles purchased since the Governor signed the Executive Order have been flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs).
The Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) procures both fuel and vehicles for Illinois government agencies. FFVs in the state’s motor-vehicle fleet can use E-85 – the advanced hybrid of ethanol composed of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Biodiesel – made from soybeans – is predominately used in Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) trucks for road construction, clearing and maintenance.
As a result of this Executive Order, an unprecedented amount of biofuels were consumed, both at gas stations throughout the state and at State operated fueling stations. Since April 2005, when the State started tracking use of renewable fuels:
- State agencies used 122,441 gallons of E-85, with a monthly average of more than 8,100 gallons.
- State agencies used 906,341 gallons of biodiesel fuel, or more than 60,000 gallons per month.
Since the Executive Order was signed, state government has prioritized the purchase of FFVs:
- More than 400 of the 700 vehicles state agencies purchased last year were FFVs.
- As a result, 1,944 vehicles – a full 16% of the State’s 12,100-vehicle fleet – can now run on E-85.
“Governor Blagojevich asked CMS to use the State’s motor vehicle fleet as an incubator for Illinois produced fuels, for new ideas and new technologies. Our fleet has been an incredible tool to help spur demand for biofuels, and now state residents can join us in powering their vehicles with fuel from Illinois-grown corn and soybeans,” said CMS Director Paul Campbell.
Gov. Blagojevich’s commitment to biofuels and flexible fuel vehicles has made Illinois government a national leader, as recently recognized by Automotive Fleet Magazine, for operating the largest E-85 passenger fleet in Illinois, and the 18th largest flexible fuel fleet in the country. Additionally, last fall the National Conference of State Fleet Administrators presented the state with the 2005 Honda Environmental Leadership Award, which recognized outstanding achievement of improving environmental quality through fleet management.
“Early in his administration, Gov. Blagojevich made a commitment to support biofuels, and he led by example by making E-85 an important part of the state’s fleet operations. Given that the Illinois government has the largest fleet of flexible fuel vehicles in the state, this commitment has helped to exponentially increase availability for E-85 statewide,” said Rod Weinzierl, President of the Illinois Corn Growers Association.
“Governor Blagojevich’s commitment to renewable fuels reinforces the importance of identifying cleaner-burning, renewable sources for our energy needs. The fact that this need can be met by a product grown right here in Illinois, with biodiesel made from soybeans, is a win-win scenario. Illinois leads the nation in biodiesel consumption and this executive order is one of the reasons,” said George Dixon, Chair of the Illinois Soybean Association.
CMS and IDOT are providing biodiesel fuel at all 84 of the state’s fueling stations whenever available from suppliers, and State fueling locations in Springfield, Chicago, Carbondale, and Edwardsville now offer E-85 and biodiesel. A full list of stations that offer E-85 to consumers is available at www.illinoisgreenfleets.org.
Executive Order 7 (2004) built upon Gov. Blagojevich’s challenge to CMS to better manage the state’s motor vehicle fleet. In signing Executive Order 2 (2003), the Governor made an important commitment to ensure greater transparency, heighten accountability and achieve cost savings in the management of its fleet. These efforts eliminated 1,600 underutilized vehicles, generated $1.1 million dollars from selling the unneeded vehicles, and reduced overall fuel and maintenance costs by more than $5.3 million in fiscal years 2004 and 2005 alone. Altogether, the state saved more than $17.1 million through its fleet efficiency initiatives, as validated by Deloitte Consulting.
Last month, the Governor unveiled a comprehensive long-term energy plan to replace Illinois’ dependence on foreign oil with homegrown alternatives. The plan will help free consumers from the grip of foreign oil and gas interests by giving drivers and homeowners alternatives to the high cost of gasoline, stabilize energy prices, give Illinois farmers new markets for their crops, and create 30,000 new jobs. The Governor’s plan sets a goal of replacing 50 percent of the state’s energy supply with homegrown fuels by 2017. Illinois would be the first state to reach this level of energy independence.
Gov. Blagojevich’s comprehensive long-term energy plan to replace Illinois’ dependence on foreign oil with homegrown alternatives would provide new incentives to help triple Illinois’ production of ethanol and other biofuels, and build up to ten new coal gasification plants to convert Illinois coal into natural gas, diesel fuel and electricity.
The plan also includes construction of a pipeline from Central to Southeastern Illinois to transport carbon dioxide produced by new energy plants to where it can be pumped underground to extract more oil and gas that sits underground in Illinois. Trapping carbon dioxide underground will permanently prevent this greenhouse gas from being emitted into the atmosphere. The plan calls for a dramatic expansion of renewable energy production as well as significant reductions in energy use through investments in energy efficiency and conservation.
Specifically, the Governor’s plan will:
• Invest in renewable biofuels by providing financial incentives to build up to 20 new ethanol plants and five new biodiesel plants. These increases in ethanol and biofuels production would allow Illinois to replace 50 percent of its current supply of imported oil with renewable homegrown biofuels;
• Increase the number of gas stations that sell biofuels, so that all gas stations offer 85 percent ethanol fuel (E-85) by 2017 and help the auto industry to produce more and better flexible fuels vehicles that can run on either E-85 or regular gasoline;
• Invest $775 million to help build up to ten new coal gasification plants that use Illinois coal to meet 25 percent of Illinois’ diesel fuel needs, 25 percent of natural gas needs and 10 percent of electricity needs by 2017;
• Build a pipeline to move carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, captured from coal gasification plants to oilfields in Southeastern Illinois to extract more oil and natural gas and permanently store the carbon dioxide underground;
• Meet 10 percent of the state’s electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2015, greatly boost investment in energy efficiency, while finding ways to cut emissions and reduce motor fuel consumption by 10 percent in 2017.