DECATUR - The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has showcased its efforts to promote the use of home grown fuels at the 54th Annual Farm Progress Show in Decatur, which wraps up today. IDOT featured its E-85/Biodiesel Project with an exhibit (Use Your Home Grown Fuels) in the Varied Industries Tent, an effort that highlights Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s plan for energy independence by supplying 50% of our motor fuel needs from Illinois crops by 2017 and create universal availability of E-85 at fuel stations statewide. The show, recognized world wide as the “Super Bowl of Agriculture,” has exhibits covering over 75 acres and attracts a national and international audience.
“IDOT is very proud to support Illinois’ agricultural community in its efforts to promote the use of home grown fuels,” said IDOT Acting Secretary Milt Sees. “This is a win-win situation for our state: we can improve the environment at same time we support our farmers.”
Over the last several years, Gov. Blagojevich has made a strong commitment to increasing the research, production and distribution of biofuels like E85. In 2003, Gov. Blagojevich created the state's first program to help build ethanol and biodiesel facilities. The Governor also signed legislation in 2003 completely eliminating the sales tax on E85 and biodiesel fuels. Illinois is still the only state in the nation to have this exemption, which is encouraging more consumption.
The Governor also launched a program to help gas stations convert to selling to E85, which has helped increase the number of stations selling the biofuel from 14 in 2004 to more than 140 today. More than 17 percent or 2151 State of Illinois vehicles are flexible fuel vehicles that can run on E85. Illinois' fleet remains a catalyst for innovative solutions that may someday end up in the marketplace.
To help facilitate growth in the use of biofuels, IDOT has made an unprecedented effort to inform the public about the locations of fuel stations that offer E-85 and or Biodiesel by placing a list and map of all stations that offer these fuels on the www.GettingAroundIllinois.com website. IDOT has also placed blue board signage at interstate exits indicating the availability of these fuels at these exits, with trail blazer signage on the exit ramps with arrows indicating the direction to the stations.
The project also includes large display maps of Illinois in all interstate rest areas that indicate station locations offering the fuels.
Another highlight of the project is a four page pamphlet that contains a map with biofuel locations, along with a directory of the stations with city and address. These pamphlets are available at all interstate rest areas and tourism information locations.
IDOT is represented Farm Progress Show by its Bureau of Operations, Office of Operations and Communications, and the Division of Traffic Safety.