Illinois Governor Blagojevich has signed legislation—House Bill 4137—requiring state agencies to purchase Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) that can run on E85 (85% ethanol blend) and diesel-powered vehicles that can run on B5 (5% biodiesel blend).
The state will purchase E-85 flex fueled or biodiesel compatible vehicles and hybrids whenever they are available to fit the business use; only certain exemptions will be granted for special agency needs.
The state’s fleet is the perfect incubator for fostering our state’s biofuels market, and I appreciate Governor Blagojevich’s efforts to build a fleet that increasingly runs on E-85 and biodiesel. This bill will continue to spur markets for Illinois corn and soybean farmers as demand for these fuels continue to increase.—State Rep. Mike Boland (D-Moline)
HB 4137 is intended to further increase environmental performance of the state fleet; in recent years, the state’s fleet managers have purchased FFVs “whenever possible” as a result of Governor Blagojevich’s Executive Order 7 (2004). Last September, Gov. Blagojevich announced that the state’s fleet had used 1 million gallons of biofuels. Between April 2005, when the state started tracking use of renewable fuels, and August 2006:
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, more than 400 of the 700 passenger vehicles state agencies purchased in FY06 were FFVs. As a result, 1,944 vehicles—16% of the State’s 12,100-vehicle fleet—can now run on E-85. There are currently more than 140 E85 stations in operation in Illinois. A statewide listing of stations offering E-85 is available at www.illinoisgreenfleets.org.
The legislation also encourages state agencies to purchase fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles.
It also allows consumers to purchase large alternative fuel vehicles out of state, if not available in-state, and be able to qualify for a rebate program administered by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The rebate program offers up to $4,000 per vehicle to convert a conventional vehicle to a vehicle using alternative fuels, such as natural gas or propane. Current law requires that vehicles over 8,500 pounds must be purchased in Illinois to be eligible.