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Biodiesel Brings Cleaner Air to Illinois

Mar 20, 2019, 4:45 PM
Home-grown alternative fuel celebrated on National Biodiesel Day March 18


BLOOMINGTON, ILL. March 15, 2019—In the search for ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Illinois has a home-grown solution: biodiesel.

Made from soybeans grown in Illinois, biodiesel is a renewable fuel. It reduces lifecycle GHG emissions by 72 percent and cuts fossil fuel use by 80 percent. Biodiesel is readily available and affordable due to favorable tax policy put in place by Illinois legislators.

March 18 is National Biodiesel Day—an opportunity to recognize the state’s leadership in biodiesel production.

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. The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program is a national leader in research and education to help diesel vehicle operators, retailers and fleets understand the benefits of biodiesel.

Recent research by NTEA—the Association for the Work Truck Industry—reports that biodiesel is the top alternative fuel choice of fleets nationwide. The diverse fleets using biodiesel in Illinois include municipalities, trucking companies, mass transit companies, airport shuttles, public utilities and more.

“By reducing motor vehicle emissions through use of biodiesel, fleets help citizens in their communities enjoy cleaner, healthier air,” says Bailey Arnold, senior manager of clean air initiatives with the American Lung Association in Springfield. “With the prevalence of asthma and other chronic lung diseases, especially in urban areas like Chicago, that’s an important benefit for our state.” The American Lung Association partners with ISA to recognize and support Illinois-based fleets that are committed to use of B20, a biodiesel fuel blend containing 20 percent biodiesel.

Biodiesel brings business advantages to Illinois as well.

The Greater Chicago I-55 Truck Plaza in Bolingbrook is one of the many fuel outlets where biodiesel is available in Illinois. Biodiesel offers a healthier, more economical fuel for the truck plaza’s customers, many of whom are long-haul truck drivers.

“Biodiesel has allowed us to compete at a national level as a small, independent, family-owned-and-operated truck plaza. Plus, we’re supporting our own state and our own Illinois farmers,” says Robin Puthusseril, vice president and co-owner of the Greater Chicago I-55 Truck Plaza. “We’re helping farmers and putting people to work here in Illinois. That’s an even greater incentive for us to be able to sell a greener product.”

Here are more fun facts for National Biodiesel Day:

  • Biodiesel is less toxic than table salt and biodegrades as fast as sugar.
  • Biodiesel supports 64,000 jobs nationally and about 2,000 jobs in Illinois.
  • Biodiesel has a total economic impact of $11.4 billion nationwide.
  • National Biodiesel Day is celebrated each year on March 18, the birthday of Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine, which originally ran on peanut oil.

These Illinois fleets are members of the B20 Club and are committed to run vehicles on B20 biodiesel:

  • Agland Inc.
  • Al Warren Oil Co.
  • Chicago Park District
  • CityLink (Greater Peoria Mass Transit)
  • City of Elmhurst
  • City of Moline
  • Cook-Illinois
  • ComEd
  • Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
  • G&D Integrated
  • R&N Trucking
  • S.K. Davison
  • Village of Arlington Heights
  • Village of Downers Grove
  • Village of Oak Park

To learn more about biodiesel, visit

The ISA checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, issues management analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C. through the Illinois Soybean Growers. ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace. For more information, visit


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