State of Illinois to Invest in E-85 Fuel Stations
Chicago — Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced today that $500,000 in Opportunity Returns funding is now available to establish new E-85 facilities at retail gasoline outlets in Illinois. E-85 is a blend of 70 to 85 percent ethanol that can be used in Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) designed to burn E-85, unleaded gasoline, or any combination of the two fuels.
E-85 fuel is a cleaner burning fuel made from corn. The effort to promote the use of ethanol as a viable and efficient source of fuel in Illinois is part of the Governor's Opportunity Returns initiative, his strategy to promote economic growth throughout the state.
"My administration is committed to working to reduce gas prices by supporting ethanol as a practical alternative. With soaring gas prices, ethanol is a cleaner burning and cheaper alternative that also creates jobs in Illinois. We will do all that we can to support ethanol, and to support higher ethanol blends such as E-85. This is an important step in the right direction," said Gov. Blagojevich.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's (DCEO) E-85 program will provide up to 50 percent of the total cost for converting an existing facility (maximum grant of $2,000 per site) to E-85 operation, or for the construction of a new refueling facility (maximum grant of up to $40,000 per facility). Individuals or companies operating retail gasoline facilities are strongly encouraged to apply.
There are currently more than four million FFVs on the road today nationwide, with approximately 100,000 of those in Illinois. Widely available models include the 5.3 liter Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Pickup trucks, 3.0 liter Ford Taurus sedans and 4.0 liter Explorers, as well as 3.3 liter Chrysler Caravan Minivans. A complete list of models is available at www.e85fuel.com. A list of current E-85 retailers in Illinois is available at www.illinoisenergy.org or at www.illinoisgreenfleets.org.
The $500,000 in funding for the new E-85 Clean Energy Infrastructure Development Program is through a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to DCEO.
"We are very pleased to support this program so that DCEO can assist fuel retailers to make E-85 more widely available to Illinois consumers. E-85 produces much less CO2 pollution, the leading global warming gas, and simultaneously produces very real economic development impacts across rural Illinois," said Foundation Chairman Phil Novak.
Also in support of E-85, Gov. Blagojevich signed legislation in 2003 that eliminated the state sales tax for E-85 fuel, pricing it competitively with unleaded gasoline. E-85 fuel now typically runs 13 to 15 cents per gallon less than regular unleaded gasoline. E-85 helps reduce gasoline prices by reducing demand for gasoline, particularly when supplies are tight.
Earlier this year, Gov. Blagojevich also issued an executive order requiring state employees to use E-85 fuel whenever practical. The new DCEO program will further expand the number of stations available to state employees, as well as the public, to use E-85.
Source: GreenCarCongress; Illinois Office of the Governor