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Chicago Area Clean Cities names American Lung Association 2017 Clean Fuels Champion

The American Lung Association has been named the 2017 Clean Fuels Champion by Chicago Area Clean Cities (CACC), a nonprofit coalition dedicated to promoting clean-energy and clean-air solutions for transportation in the Chicago area impacting nearly 9 million people. The Clean Fuels Champion was awarded last night at the coalition’s Annual Meeting.

The American Lung Association oversees the Clean Air Choice program throughout the United States promoting alternative renewable fuels such as biodiesel and E85, partnering with fleets to replace legacy diesel engines, and by supporting the clean-air advantages of electric and hybrid vehicles.

We are truly honored to be named a Clean Fuels Champion by Chicago Area Clean Cities. Air pollution poses a serious threat to our nation’s health. Studies show that air pollution from transportation causes asthma attacks and contributes to premature death and lung cancer among many other health concerns. Clean transportation plays an important role in improving air quality and lung health.

Clean Air Choice actions taken by consumers and by commercial and government fleets to decrease vehicle emissions are vitally important to addressing these public-health issues and improving the quality of life in our communities. Along with our partners like Clean Cities, our team works extremely hard to encourage the use of clean-vehicle technologies, such as alternative fuels, replacing older engines, and use of electric and hybrid vehicles.

—Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association

The award has been given annually since 2001 to an individual, organization, or business that champions the promotion of alternative fuels and technologies to reduce vehicle emissions and reduce petroleum usage. Recent award recipients include the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Testa Produce, and Ozinga Bros, Inc.

Alternative-fuel and electric-vehicle programs the Lung Association oversees include:

  • Clean Air Choice: The Lung Association’s overarching program promotes the use of cleaner-burning fuels and cleaner engine technology that reduce motor vehicle emissions, including the use of biofuels (E85 and biodiesel), and electric and hybrid vehicles.

  • B20 Club: The B20 Club is a partnership of the Illinois Soybean Association Checkoff Program and the American Lung Association in Illinois, recognizing Illinois-based fleets running on biodiesel blends of 20% or greater for at least six months of the year. Since the formation of the club in 2013, member fleets have used nearly 20 million gallons of B20 biodiesel fuel and reduced more than 29,000 tons of CO2 emissions and nine tons of particulate matter (PM), with $5 million in associated health benefits, according to the EPA.

  • US EPA’s Clean Diesel Program: Diesel emissions account for 6.3 million tons of nitrogen oxides and 305,000 tons of particulate matter in the U.S. A 2010 Health Effects Institute study estimated that 45% of Americans live near roads with elevated levels of traffic emissions. Since 2008, the American Lung Association has partnered with the EPA and 125 fleets to replace 1,500 vehicles and eliminate 950,000 tons of lifetime emissions (NOx and PM) through clean-diesel projects that improve air quality in local areas. These projects have helped significantly reduce the consumption of diesel fuel through new technologies.

  • Midwest EVOLVE (Electric Vehicle Opportunities: Learning, eVents, Experience): Launched in 2017, Midwest EVOLVE is a partnership between the American Lung Association and eight Clean Cities coalitions throughout the Midwest to demonstrate the performance and environmental benefits of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles.

  • Illinois Alternative Fuels Alliance: Formed in 2017, the alliance consists of organizations that work on clean-air and clean-vehicle solutions in Illinois.

At the awards ceremony, CACC also named its 2017 Green Fleet Leadership Award winners: FedEx Express; ComEd; City of Chicago; City of Elmhurst; Forest Preserve District of DuPage County; Waste Management; Peapod; Continental Air Transport; Chicago Transit Authority; Coca-Cola; and Watts on Wheels. Each organization was recognized for its successful use of vehicles with alt fuels and advanced technologies.

CACC is one of more than 90 coalitions across the country affiliated with the US Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program, which brings together stakeholders to increase the use of alternative fuels and advanced-vehicle technologies, reduce idling, and improve fuel efficiency and air quality. CACC concentrates its efforts on educating businesses and municipalities in the six-county Chicago area, including Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.

The coalition also is a partner in Midwest EVOLVE, a seven-state project to educate consumers about the clean-air and performance advantages of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles.

Upstream GHG emissions. Bloomberg recently analyzed data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) and concluded that the transport sector is now the largest sectoral source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, reflecting the cleanup of electric power generation.

However, that cleanup is still underway—as it will be for a long time—and it is very uneven. Depending upon location, for example, a push to a full battery-electric or plug-in hybrid might produce slightly worse well-to-wheels (upstream and operational) GHG results currently than a conventional hybrid—Chicago being a specific example of this phenomenon. (Coal still contributes significantly to the generation mix.) The zero tailpipe emissions from an EV will, of course, benefit local air quality.

The US Department of Energy’s calculator for greenhouse gas emissions for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on its extremely useful site shows that a Hyundai Ioniq Electric will be responsible for 90 grams of CO2/mile when using electricity delivered in Southern California. However, when using electricity delivered to downtown Chicago (Lincoln Park), this jumps to 180 g/mile.

Similarly, while the Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid is responsible for 150 g/mile CO2 in SoCal, this climbs to 200 g/mile in Chicago. Balanced against these is the well-to-wheels CO2 footprint of 184 g/mile of the Ioniq hybrid without the plug.

As another quick comparison, the new Tesla Model 3 Long Range is responsible for 90 g/mile CO2 in SoCal, and 200 g/mile in Chicago—more than the conventional hybrid Ioniq. (A Tesla Model X P100D carries a CO2 footprint of 280 g/mile in Chicago, according to the calculator.)



The current trend to heavier (ICEVs) SUVs, Pink-Ups and rather heavier extended range EVs like TESLA S contributed to more pollution and GHGs in large city cores.

Near future FCEVs using clean H2 may be a better solution?

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