Fall 2019
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Clean, Renewable Biodiesel Benefits Illinois Communities
Biodiesel Brings Clean Air to Oak Park
Close to the heart of Chicago, you’ll find a community committed to clean air and environmental stewardship. The Village of Oak Park runs its fleet on B20, a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel. B20 generates fewer tailpipe emissions and reduces lifecycle carbon emissions. 

Oak Park is a long-standing member of the B20 Club, a partnership between the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program and the American Lung Association that recognizes Illinois-based fleets with strong commitments to operating on biodiesel blends of B20 or higher. The B20 Club promotes environmentally friendly biodiesel fuel, while also providing members with networking opportunities, educational materials, training and resource exchanges with other fleets fueled by B20 or higher blends. Members include county and municipal fleets, trucking companies, mass transit providers and utilities—all dedicated to cleaner air and more sustainable operations.

“Oak Park has always been at the forefront as a green community. We place a high priority on environmental stewardship,” said Ken Crowley, superintendent of fleet services for the Village of Oak Park. “We do everything we can to keep the air we breathe as clean as we can, and biodiesel is a very simple way of doing that.”

More than 10 years ago Oak Park suffered a devastating loss when a fire destroyed the building housing a large portion of their fleet vehicles. When the municipality rebuilt the fleet they understood the importance of utilizing environmentally conscious fuels like biodiesel, making it an easier decision to power their fleet with B20. Today, the fleet continues to use B20 year-round in all their municipal vehicles that run on diesel, from fire engines and ambulances to snowplows and street sweepers. 
While some have concerns about the performance of B20, Crowley is quick to dispel misconceptions regarding the fuel. The Oak Park fleet prioritizes education in the community and with area fleet professionals about the proven performance and environmental benefits of biodiesel.

“Education is our best asset,” Crowley said. “We need to keep informing the public and our colleagues about what biodiesel is and how it benefits the environment and our communities.” 

Oak Park regularly hosts tours at their public works facility to introduce the community to their commitment to the environment and use of alternative fuels, like biodiesel. They highlight how B20 is just as reliable as ultra-low-sulfur diesel—including in the winter months—and how it’s contributing to lower emissions, which directly benefits community members through cleaner air.

“B20 helps reduce our emissions by reducing the particulate matter put out by our engines. Our carbon footprint is also lower because our CO 2  emissions are decreased,” Crowley said. “I would encourage anybody who uses diesel to switch over to B20. It’s a drop-in alternative that helps all of us have a cleaner environment.”

For more stories on how clean-burning, renewable biodiesel benefits communities, the environment and the Chicago area, visit  b20club.org .

New Pace Service to Increase Bus Ridership
Pace Launches Pulse Milwaukee, Clean Air Initiatives
Pace Suburban Bus recently launched its Pulse Milwaukee Line, the first line in a rapid transit network that will ultimately span busy corridors across Chicagoland. 

Carrying passengers between Jefferson Park Transit Center in Chicago and Golf Mill Shopping Center in Niles, the instantly-recognizable purple buses also stop at eight raised stations that enable faster boarding. The stations are equipped with real-time Bus Tracker signs, heated shelters, and even snow-melting pavement below the platform. The buses feature Wi-Fi and USB charging outlets and can communicate with traffic signals along Milwaukee Avenue to decrease travel times. The technology, speed, and frequency behind Pulse represent truly cutting-edge bus service.

A robust public transit system is a vital part of a clean, modern city. A single full bus takes dozens of vehicles off of roads, reducing pollution and improving air quality—and Pace already provides thousands of trips per day along Milwaukee Avenue. The more comfortable, frequent, and reliable service Pulse offers riders will only increase ridership and further clean our city’s air.

Thanks to  Rebuild Illinois , the State of Illinois’s new capital program, Pace will be able to construct a new garage and compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in Wheeling. CNG buses operating out of this garage will eventually provide service on Pulse lines in Chicago’s north and northwestern suburbs. These buses produce up to 30 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than diesel fuel and 95 percent fewer tailpipe emissions. This means that in the near future, Pulse will contribute even more to a cleaner, healthier region.

The CNG fleet in Wheeling will join over 100 CNG buses operating out of Pace’s South Division garage, representing an increasingly large portion of Pace’s system. Buses at Pace’s North Division garage use clean-diesel technology to reduce emissions, and the agency continues to look at ways to further reduce emissions. Through cutting-edge technology, robust levels of transit service, and responsible development patterns, Pace is confident in Chicagoland’s ability to improve health outcomes, respond to the climate crisis, and maintain its status as the economic engine of the Midwest—not to mention get its residents to where they need to go.

Village of Oak Park Installs Charging Stations
Oak Park's Fleet Purchases Five New Nissan LEAFs
Recently, the Village of Oak Park installed five electric vehicle charging stations at its village hall on Madison Street. There are three stations with six ports for charging municipal vehicles and two charging stations with four ports for charging by EV owners. The village also has ordered five new 2019 Nissan LEAFs. Oak Park, with more than 50,000 residents, is a member of CACC and the B20 Club, and is a long-time user of low-emissions biodiesel fuel for the village’s diesel fleet vehicles. Oak Park’s green fleet is one of many sustainability efforts underway in the village. 
Member Spotlight: Illinois Alternative Fuels Alliance
Alliance Advocates for Clean Fuels, Clean Technologies
CACC is thrilled to be a member and participate in the Illinois Alternative Fuels Alliance (IAFA). IAFA, based in Springfield, supports the reduction of vehicle 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-vehicle emission technologies in transportation corridors throughout Illinois.

IAFA’s executive director is Aaron DeWeese, who has years of experience in alternative fuels. “The alliance is a statewide organization, and we are your voice in Springfield to advance legislative efforts to support the use of clean, low-emissions alternative fuels,” DeWeese said. “We encourage CACC members and stakeholders to become involved and further spur economic development in the State of Illinois and the transition to a cleaner, greener economy.”

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, DeWeese said.

The Alternate Fuels Act was enacted by the Illinois General Assembly 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 helped to established Illinois as a leader in the development of vehicles powered by alternate fuels, as well as investments in necessary infrastructure to support these emerging technologies. We’re working hard to bring back this vital program,” DeWeese said.

“Our coalition worked closely with the American Lung Association, Renewable Energy Group and others to help form the Illinois Alternative Fuels Alliance,” said John Walton, chair, Chicago Area Clean Cities. “It is terrific to see public and private fleets, suppliers, associations, and government agencies come together to promote clean fuels and clean vehicles. Together we have an even greater impact on the environment and help to save fleets money.”

To learn more about IAFA, please visit  https://www.ilaltfuels.org

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For 25 years, Chicago Area Clean Cities has been helping the six-county Chicago area home to nearly 9 million people to have cleaner air. Without you, our coalition would not be able to deliver on its mission of Clean Vehicles, Clean Fuels, Clean Air, Clean Technologies, and Clean Cities!

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