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New Illinois Law Requires State Agencies to Purchase E85 Flex-Fuel Vehicles

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

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.



Hi I am an Illinois Resident, and I think this stinks. These vehicles will hardly ever use E85, and if they were the State of Illinois petroleum consumtion would not decrease. Since corn requires almost as much petroleum to be grown and turned into ethanol, as the energy it contains. E85 is an anathama. Ethanol in fuel is a good thing, at the levels needed for oxygenation, and cleaner burns. But not at 85 %.

If the law required high mileage vehicles (full hybrids), such as Camry Hybrid, Prius and Escape Hybrid, then there would be a solid 40 percent (at least) reduction in petroleum consumption by these vehicles. And also savings in mechanics time.

The E85 part of this law is is a pure politcal gesture to the lobby-in-power (ADM?). What about other technologies? How about Bio-Butanol, which has better energy yeild, is cheaper to transport and store, and can be made with similar bio feed-stocks.


These towns want to appear like there doing somthing
when there not. politics ,there is also another point with these flex fuel vehicles. they may not want to buy toyota or honda for township vehicles. they are correct taxpayers dollars should only buy usa made cars

they are correct taxpayers dollars should only buy usa made cars

In terms of state and local municipalities, why? Do we insist that governments buy lumber from American forests instead of Canadian forests? Do we require government televisions be purchased from American companies? How about paperclips?

While we're at it, why tUSA? Why not require the product be made in the state or municipality? A car made in Michigan is no good to Illinois -- it ought to be made by an Illini, oughtn't it?

Of course not. That's just dumb policy, and really expensive too. Buy the most efficient tool for the job, thereby maximizing the positive impact for the tax dollar.



You are certainly right. In global economy “buying domestic” slogan is just silly. No less then 40% of domestically built Ford vehicles parts are manufactured abroad. US assembly plants of Japanese and European manufacturers send oversea whopping 2% of the profits in dividends. All other taxes and payrolls stay here. Part of these dividends are returned back to me, as I own some of their shares. So do many Americans.

The only sensible requirement for local fleet purchases could (or not) be that purchased vehicles should be assembled on US soil. Like Camry Hybrid.


The headline on this is misleading as the story goes on to say that ILstategov buys biodiesel ~9 times more than E85. And thats probably good. All govmint agencies from state cops to city grunts should at least be trying to drive a domestic diesel car. Oh wait...not a single one is made here. Kiss those pensions and property taxes bye-bye.


Unless you count light/medium duty trucks that local, municipal, state govts use, yes.

Rafael Seidl

FFV cars don't make any difference to energy security in that they are rarely if ever actually filled up on E85, because of the additional expense and reduced range. On the plus side, the additional initial outlay is low, on the order of $100 mfg cost. And Illinois wants to keep what car plants and suppliers to Detroit it has happy. Btw, Toyota et al. could easily build FFVs if they wanted to.

As Fred points out, the more important aspect here is the option of buying vehicles that can handle a low biodiesel blend. Most diesel vehicles already feature fuel systems that can handle B20 without modification. To the extent that this helps create a market for modern diesel technology incl. DPFs and NOx aftertreatment, the announced plan is a good idea. The state saves on the fuel bills and its farmers can diversify away from corn and into vegetable oil crops. Also, anyone looking for a site for a BTL plant might now consider Illinois.

tom deplume

I see no reason why state owned flex-fuel cars wouldn't use E85. Motor pools could have there own fuel storage facilities and have them filled with E85. The transit system I worked for had its own diesel and gasoline storage tanks as did the city's vehicle fleet. If Illinios is like Michigan all public transit vehicles would be state property and therefore subject to the biofuel requirements.

FYI co2

Greenwashing (continued)


Silly. I think not, When Toyota says assembled in USA
They don’t mention were all the parts from. And buying things from Mexico and Canada only help the US
Having healthy trade .and maybe stop or slow illegal immigration which cost the American taxpayer big i don’t have any figures because I don’t think they exist. The big three had 1.3 million workers in 1979
and are down to half a million. So taking my tax dollar and sending it over seas. Know that’s silly

what next german miltary vechcles
asian Tanks.


So what is up with the B5 rule on biodiesel?

I ran a 30 year old Mercedes on B100 and it ran great with ZERO modifications. I did this for over a year. When it got really cold I did cut back to B20, but all without any problem at all.

John Shiels

I just bought a new flex fuel FORD F150 and it got about 10 MPG on its first tank of gasoline. I plan to use E85 from this day forward and therefore will be consuming huge amounts of ethanol and thus plan to stimulate the demand for ethanol. Some day soon, with the incentives that Rod Blagojevich has for the people of Illinois to own and operate a flex fuel vehicle, everyone will want to own one. Once people find out about the great rebates that are offered, the entire amount of ethanol that can be fermented from all of the corn grown in Illinois will be "sucked up" and we will probably need to import more of it from Jamaica. You see, I've got a really awesome tax rebate coming which amounts to 80% of the manufacturer's up-charge for producing my flex fuel F150. Here, let me do the math for you: 0.80 x $0 = $0. I've also got a possible $340 per year rebate coming when I prove that I have used ethanol at least half of the time throughout each year for the next three years. The $340 will help offset my additional expenses for the ethanol due to its lower BTU content and will help compensate me for the inconvenience of having to make the additional stops at the one and only gas pump. I won't mind stopping at the filling station because every time I go there I will be able to load up on candy and soda pop and grab a carton of smokes. I figure that will be good for Illinois sales tax revenues and I'll be helping my statesmen out in some big way. By the way, I figure that Illinois collects about $1 billion in fuel tax revenues every year on gasoline alone. This is not to mention the revenues from diesel fuel usage, toll roads, and vehicular sales tax and licensing. It is so great to live here in Illinois that President Lincoln probably wishes he could come back to life and buy himself a new flex fuel F150 and have some E85 fun!



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