SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced new steps the state is taking to promote the use of E-85 and biodiesel, both fuels are produced from Illinois crops that are better for the environment and will reduce Illinois’ demand for foreign oil. On its travel Web site, www.gettingaroundillinois.com
, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is now displaying all E-85 and biodiesel locations around the state to help inform drivers where they can fill up with the clean burning, alternative fuels, one of which is corn-based; the other is soy-based. Additionally, IDOT is developing new pamphlets for rest areas and Interstate signs alerting drivers to exits with E-85 and biodiesel gas station locations.
“We’re leading the nation in expanding the market for ethanol, using it in our state vehicles and in getting stations throughout Illinois to sell it, but one of the problems for drivers has been finding locations to buy E-85 and biodiesel,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “With just a few simple steps I think we can go a long way in getting the word out on E-85 and biodiesel. We’ve included all the stations on our easy to use state travel website; we’ll be posting new signs on the interstate showing motorists where to exit for an E-85 or biodiesel station, and we’re developing new pamphlets for our rest areas and tourist centers that will show where E-85 and biodiesel stations are in Illinois.”
At the Illinois Department of Transportation travel Web site, gettingaroundillinois.com, users can zoom in to find exact locations of E-85 and biodiesel stations and are even able to get directions to the station.
IDOT will begin putting signage up this fall along the interstate and at off-ramps that identify the exits with stations that sell E-85 and biodiesel.
And a pamphlet is being developed that will be distributed at rest areas, tourist information centers, and E-85 and biodiesel stations. The pamphlets will have a map denoting towns with E-85 and biodiesel stations and a complete station listing, and should be available later this year or early next year.
“We’re bringing together these things using existing resources so the cost to taxpayers will be minimized,” said IDOT Secretary Timothy W. Martin. “Getting better use of our homegrown fuels is a win-win situation for Illinois. We improve our environment and our economy; it just makes sense.”
In April of 2005, Gov. Blagojevich directed state agencies to use E-85 and biodiesel, and since that time state government has used more than a million gallons of the homegrown fuels.
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.