Illinois Department of Transportation, Ann L. Schneider, Secretary
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2008


Contact:


Mike Claffey 312.814.3957
Marisa Kollias 312.814.4693
Paris Ervin 217.558.0517


IDOT Steps up Fuel Conservation Efforts and Educates Drivers on Reduced Fuel Use  

PEORIA – As part of an ongoing effort to conserve energy, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today released a new brochure that provides the driving public with tips on how to reduce fuel consumption. IDOT officials released the new brochure at a news conference at which they outlined the department’s environmental initiatives and efforts to conserve fuel and promote the use of biofuels during a time of skyrocketing fuel prices.

“IDOT has been committed to green and environmentally friendly methods for years,” said IDOT Secretary Milton R. Sees. “This summer, we have a made a concerted effort to conserve fuel by cutting back on mowing and unnecessary travel. Now the Department is taking the additional step of providing the public with information to help them reduce fuel consumption by driving smartly.”

IDOT will be distributing 15,000 copies of the fuel conservation brochure, which is printed on 100 percent recycled paper, at rest areas around the state. The tips include information about how to reduce fuel consumption by maintaining your vehicle and tires properly and by reducing the speed at which you drive. The pamphlet also includes environmentally friendly facts and information on alternate modes of transportation.

In order to reduce its own fuel consumption, IDOT has reduced the amount of mowing along highway right-of-ways this summer. There will be one mowing cycle this year except for safety needs at intersections. IDOT’s Division of Highways has also adopted a “limited vehicle use” policy in an effort to conserve fuel. Under this policy, IDOT employees have been conferencing by video, car pooling or riding buses to meetings and events as much as possible.

IDOT also actively promotes the use of biofuels by providing information on stations that sell biofuels at rest areas, on highway signs and on the Web at www.GettingAroundillinois.com. IDOT received an award from the Illinois Green Government Coordinating Council for “Innovative Projects” for its effort to flag gas stations that sell biofuels on highway “blue boards” that advertise services available at Interstate interchanges.

In addition, through a combined effort with the Illinois Soybean Association, bumper stickers have been placed on IDOT vehicles powered by biodiesel fuel that read “Use biodiesel for a cleaner Illinois.”

“The Illinois Soybean Association, representing Illinois Soybean producers, is proud of the cooperative effort with IDOT,” said Chris Bickett, the Association’s Director. This is another example of biodiesel, made from Illinois soybeans, making a positive impact on our state’s economy.

IDOT also works with the trucking industry to reduce fuel consumption through the PrePass Automatic Vehicle Identification system in use at weigh stations, according to IDOT Bureau Chief of Operations, Joe Hill.

Similar to the I-Pass system used by the Illinois Tollway, the technology allows trucks to pass by weigh stations and port-of-entry facilities at highway speed, thus conserving fuel, reducing carbon emissions while at the same time relieving traffic congestion.

The PrePass program in Illinois screened 3,279,583 vehicles in 2007. This translates to the saving of 273,299 hours for commercial haulers. The technology saved and estimated 1.3 million gallons of fuel and $16.3 million in operational costs. The environmental benefits include the elimination of 2,896 metric tons of emissions into the atmosphere.

IDOT also has a highway sign recycling program under which the department recycles 45,000 to 50,000 highway and freeway signs annually. This process saves over 190,000 gallons of water, conserves 427,000 pounds of aluminum and saves the state over $600,000 per year. IDOT also recycles paper, used motor oil and antifreeze and has master contracts for the recycling of toner cartridges and road barricades.
 

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