New Illinois law aims to boost biodiesel use

| 8/2/2005

Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a bill into law July 28 to promote the use of biodiesel in Illinois.

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel that’s typically made from soybeans. Advocates say it reduces air pollution by cutting emissions of soot and carbon monoxide.

The new law, previously HB112, requires any government-owned diesel vehicles to use a 2 percent biodiesel blend, but only under certain conditions. For example, use of the blend is required only if the state vehicle is fueling at a bulk, central fueling facility where the blend is available.

It allows governments in Illinois to use a fuel with a higher percentage of biodiesel if “the engine is designed or retrofitted to operate on a higher percentage of biodiesel or on ultra low sulfur fuel.”

Experts have told Land Line that fuel meeting the federal standard for biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine without modification.

The new law, which takes effect July 1, 2006, applies to “any diesel powered vehicle owned or operated by this state, any county or unit of local government, any school district, any community college or public college or university, or any mass transit agency.”

State facilities already use 2 percent biodiesel fuel in accordance with an executive order issued by the governor in 2004, according to the governor’s office. Early this summer, Blagojevich approved legislation that gives rebates to drivers using fuels with a minimum 20 percent biodiesel blend.