The Illinois Alternative Fuels Alliance (IAFA) supports the reduction of harmful vehicular emissions through initiatives that advance the expanded use of “alternative” fuels and technologies, electric vehicles and new lower emission diesel engines, and through infrastructure investments which support cleaner vehicular emission technologies in transportation corridors throughout Illinois.
IAFA supports the legislative intent of the Illinois Alternate Fuels Act, and for Alternate Fuels Fund revenues to be released for their intended purpose of promoting alternative fuels fleet vehicle grant programs designed to significantly reduce harmful vehicle emissions. This once robust state grant program has been conspicuously dormant for the last serval years.
The Alternate Fuels Act was enacted by the Illinois General Assembly (P.A. 89-410, 415 ILCS 120) to promote the use of alternative fuels in vehicles, thus improving air quality in Illinois, and achieving the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, and the federal Energy Policy Act of 1992. The Alternate Fuels Act further established Illinois in a leadership role in the development of vehicles powered by alternate fuels, as well as investments in necessary infrastructure to support these emerging technologies.
The Alternate Fuels Act also established the Alternate Fuels Fund (415 ILCS 120/35) to support state agency administered alternative fuel vehicle rebate programs for the purchase of alternative fuel fleet vehicles. The Alternate Fuels Fund (Fund #422) continues to receive revenues generated from the collection of annual $20 user fees by the Illinois Secretary of State from any individual, partnership, association, corporation, or agency of the United States government that registers any combination of 10 or more fleet motor vehicles cited in the Act.
In 2018, IAFA supported appropriating $3,000,000 from the Alternate Fuels Fund for alternative fuels fleet vehicle grant programs for FY18-19. As of May 13, 2019, according the Illinois Comptroller’s records, the Alternate Fuels Fund had received $1,411,680 in state revenues. The current Alternate Fuels Fund balance is $2,065,655. To date, no grants have been award from the fund for FY18-19, nor any in FY17-18. However, in the final two months of FY17-18, a total of $1,300,000 was swept from the fund via intragovernmental transfer.
The introduced FY19-20 state budget includes $8,500,000 for alternative fuels fleet vehicle grant programs. The IAFA strongly supports the reestablishment of these once popular, and still very much in demand, emission reduction grant programs for FY20, and for the Alternate Fuels Fund resume being utilized for its legislative intent.
IAFA supports the IEPA awarding the remainder of their Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) $3,000,000 Federal Highway Administration grant (TIP ID 13-14-001) for the Chicago Area Green Fleet Grant Program (Grant Program). The remaining balance of IEPA-held CMAQ funds are from CMAQ awards from 2014 to 2018. The purpose of this federally funded program is to further promote alternative fuel vehicles and certain types of alternate fuel-powered off-road equipment in the Chicago area. Fleets that submitted applications two years ago are still waiting for these CMAQ funds to be released by IEPA.
IAFA further supports IEPA administering their additional pending CMAQ award of $7,000,000 to extend the Agency’s Grant Program, further reducing vehicle emissions in the Chicago area.
IAFA supports an open and transparent grant application process, as the IEPA continues to administer Illinois’ $108,000,000 Volkswagen Environmental Beneficiary Plan, awarding grants supporting the use of eligible alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure, including electric, compressed natural gas, biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen, and propane to reduce harmful NOx emissions from vehicles in Illinois.
The introduced FY20 state budget includes $20M in reappropriations to the IEPA from the newly created Volkswagen Settlement Fund for pending fiscal year awards, and an additional $60M for future alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure projects. IAFA continues to track the remaining fund VW Settlement balance of $28,000,000. The IEPA has a total of 10 years to administer Illinois’ VW Settlement.
IAFA supports Section 90.5 (Electric Vehicle Act) of the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) omnibus legislation. The Electric Vehicle Act is a good step toward further reductions in transportation corridor emissions. IAFA, therefore supports the passage of the Electric Vehicle Act, either as part of the final CEJA omnibus bill, or as standalone legislation in 2019.
IAFA recommends all government diesel-engine fleet vehicles (both on-road and off-road) operating in Illinois, run exclusively on B20 biodiesel in a concerted state-directed efforted to effectively reduce harmful tailpipe emissions.
B20 biodiesel is a federally classified alternative fuel produced from readily available, renewable resources, including soybean oil and animal fats. B20 blends have been shown to reduce particulate matter and carbon monoxide emissions by more than 10% and unburned hydrocarbons by more than 20% in heavy-duty highway engines. Also, biodiesel has been shown to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 86%, and fossil fuel use by 80% compared with petroleum diesel.
Illinois is one of the nation’s largest biodiesel-producing states, with five plants producing up to 171 million gallons of biodiesel per year—enough to keep thousands of diesel vehicles on the road
Common misconceptions impede more widespread use of biodiesel. Contrary to popular belief, using biodiesel does not void any manufacturers’ vehicle, engine parts or workmanship warranties. In fact, all U.S. diesel vehicle manufacturers support use of B5 biodiesel, and higher B20 blends can be used in more than 80% of the diesel vehicles rolling off production lines.
HB 3619 (Costello) / SB 1817 (Bennett)
IAFA supports efforts to improve air quality through reductions in harmful tailpipe emissions through increased use of higher ethanol blends There are no mandates in this legislation. The state sales tax on gasoline remains at 5% plus local share. E10 will remain available at all stations for all users. The Consumer Fuel Choice for Illinois will:
Its implementation means:
E15 is approved by the USEPA for all 2001 and newer cars and light-duty trucks, as well as for all Flex Fuel Vehicles
IAFA supports federally funded CMAQ projects that directly reduce vehicle emissions including Drive Clean Chicago, an alternative fuel incentive project supporting deployment throughout the Chicago area. Phase 2 of the CMAQ-funded Drive Clean Chicago ($15M) project has deployed 400 alternative fuel vehicles, greatly reducing harmful tailpipe air emissions in the Chicago-Metro region. The City of Chicago has two more pending CMAQ projects:
IAFA is concerned with delays in CMAQ-funded clean vehicle projects due to FHWA’s halt to their Buy America waiver process. The FHWA Buy America requirements, established in 1983, were written for iron and steel in roads and bridges, not for complex products like cars and trucks, with numerous component parts sourced from all over the world. Because there are no vehicles with 100 percent American iron and steel and it is impossible to track where all the iron and steel screws, bolts, brackets, wires and other components are made, the FHWA decided in 2012 to approve vehicle projects if the final assembly takes place in the United States. Since 2017, no waiver requests have been approved, stalling the deployment of hundreds of alternative fuel vehicles in Illinois.
IAFA supports consideration of US-built clean vehicle technologies.
IAFA recommends the scheduled replacement of all applicable government fleet vehicles with cleaner alternative fuel vehicles and supporting infrastructure, including: Compressed natural gas (CNG); Ethanol; Biodiesel; Electric Vehicles (EV); Liquid Propane Gas (LPG).
Under the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992, certain state government and alternative fuel provider fleets are required to acquire alternative fuel vehicles as a portion of their annual light-duty vehicle acquisitions. Compliance is required by fleets that operate, lease, or control 50 or more light-duty vehicles within the United States.
IAFA endorses enforcement of EPAct requirements for all government-owned fleets, and further recommends Illinois extend federally mandated EPAct alternative fuel fleet vehicle purchasing requirements beyond state government fleets to include county and municipal fleets above 50 vehicles.
In addition, IAFA endorses that all these vehicles MUST use the alternative fuel and not gasoline or diesel fuel.
IAFA continues to support federal grant programs for projects to replace older diesel (higher emission) engines with cleaner alternative fuels engines and vehicles, or at the very least new diesel engines that are compliant with current lower emission standards.
As a result of U.S.EPA regulations, diesel engines manufactured today are cleaner than ever before. But because diesel engines can operate for 30 years or more, millions of older, dirtier engines are still in use. Reducing exposure to diesel exhaust from these engines (trucks, buses, trains, boats, etc.) is especially important for human health and the environment. U.S. EPA offers funding for projects that reduce diesel emissions from existing engines through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. The American Lung Association in partnership with the Chicago Area Clean Cities and the Illinois Alternative Fuels Alliance has applied for grants and received funding over the past 12 years to help public and private owners of these legacy vehicles upgrade their engine and vehicles.
The core mission of the Illinois Alternative Fuels Alliance is to work to reduce harmful vehicular emissions, and therefore, IAFA supports the repeal of any provisions that expressly prohibits Illinois from reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions beyond the goals set for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol of 1998. Both bills passed their chamber of origin.
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