SPRINGFIELDIllinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich recently announced new steps the state is taking to promote the use of E-85 and biodiesel.
Both fuels are produced from Illinois crops: E-85 is corn-based and biodiesel is soy-based. Both fuels are also considered better for the environment, and the hope is to reduce Illinois demand for foreign oil through production of these fuels.
On its travel Web site, www.gettingaroundillinois.com, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) displays all E-85 and biodiesel locations around the state to help inform drivers where they can fill up with the clean-burning alternative fuels. Additionally, IDOT is developing new pamphlets for rest areas and Interstate signs alerting drivers to exits with E-85 and biodiesel gas station locations.
Blagojevich said: Were 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. With just a few simple steps, I think we can go a long way in getting the word out on E-85 and biodiesel.
At the Illinois Department of Transportation travel Web site, www.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.
In April 2005, Blagojevich directed state agencies to use E-85 and biodiesel, and since that time state government has used more than 1 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 governors plan sets a goal of replacing 50 percent of the states energy supply with homegrown fuels by 2017. Illinois would be the first state to reach this level of energy independence.
Blagojevichs 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 10 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.
From the Oct. 25-31, 2006, issue