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Get Illinois Off Oil | Environment Illinois

The environmental costs of our oil dependence are out of control — from the accidents and spills, to smog, to climate change. It’s time to set this country on a path to getting off oil for good. We can get there by convincing our leaders to make new investments in fuel-efficient cars, new technology, and a first-class system of public transportation.

The cost of our oil addiction

Illinois is dangerously dependent on oil.

With rising global demand and instability in the Middle East pushing oil prices ever higher, oil dependence takes an enormous bite out of our paychecks and our economy. But the prices that we pay with our wallets are only a fraction of the true costs of our addiction to oil.

We pay for it with our lungs, every time we breathe in toxic soot and smog pollution released from burning oil. Our cars still produce almost 1/3 of the nation’s emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which create asthma-attack inducing smog pollution.

We also pay for our oil with our beaches, coasts and oceans. In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster dumped 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and contaminated thousands of miles of coastline. And in 2011, an ExxonMobil pipeline spilled and dumped 42,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River, which runs through the national park.

And we pay for our oil addiction with the future we’re leaving our children. Oil dependence is our number one cause of global warming.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

We have the technology today to take the first steps away from oil. We can expand transit, help promote electric vehicles, and build high-speed rail.

Of course, to get there, the first step is for our state to have concrete goals to reduce our oil use, a plan to make it happen, and the support of our leaders. And in 2012, we launched a bill in the state legislature to do just that.

Environment Illinois introduces groundbreaking law to get off oil

In February 2012, a bill to reduce Illinois’ dependence on oil, SB 3527, was introduced and quickly opposed by big oil. The bill, spearheaded by Environment Illinois, Senator Toi Hutchinson, and Representative Art Turner, sets ambitious goals to cut Illinois’ oil use 30% by 2030 and 50% by 2050. It also tasks the state with developing a comprehensive plan to achieve the goals.

Earlier in 2011, Environment Illinois released a strategy to help us achieve those goals. The first-of-its-kind report found that Illinois could reduce its oil consumption nearly 40% by 2030 through steps that include:

  1. Deploying electric vehicles (495 million gallons saved in 2030)

  2. Strong fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks (448 million gallons saved), and heavy-duty vehicles (351 million gallons saved)

  3. Building high-speed rail (23 million gallons saved)

  4. Retrofitting commercial buildings (26 million gallons saved)

  5. Retrofitting homes (23 million gallons saved)

  6. Energy-efficient residential building codes (18 million gallons saved)

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