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.

Click here to tell your state legislators to sponsor our bill and cut Illinois's oil consumption.

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:

  • Deploying electric vehicles (495 million gallons saved in 2030)
  • Strong fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks (448 million gallons saved), and heavy-duty vehicles (351 million gallons saved)
  • Building high-speed rail (23 million gallons saved)
  • Retrofitting commercial buildings (26 million gallons saved)
  • Retrofitting homes (23 million gallons saved)
  • Energy-efficient residential building codes (18 million gallons saved)

Click here to tell your leaders: get Illinois off oil!


Get Illinois Off Oil Campaign

News Release | Environment Illinois

Report: wind energy, tax credits needed to combat global warming

The carbon pollution from 16 coal plants could be eliminated in Illinois if wind power continues its recent growth trajectory, according to a new analysis by Environment Illinois. The analysis comes just as Congress considers whether to renew tax credits critical to wind development.

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Report | Environment Illinois Research & Education Center

More Wind, Less Warming

American wind power already produced enough energy in 2013 to power 15 million homes. Continued, rapid development of wind energy would allow the renewable resource to supply 30 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030, providing more than enough carbon reductions to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan.

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News Release | Environment Illinois

New report: Illinois coal plants 7th in country

As international leaders prepare for the United Nations Climate Summit next week in New York, a new study shows Illinois’ coal-fired power plants dump as much carbon pollution into the atmosphere as the entire country of Israel. 

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News Release | Environment Illinois

New Report: Solar Capacity in Illinois Grew 4% in 2013

Today, Environment Illinois Research & Policy Center released a new reoirt, Lighting the Way: The Top Ten States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2013, showing strong solar growth across the nation — including a 4% increase in Illinois in 2013. 

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Report | Environment Illinois

Lighting the Way

America’s solar energy revolution has been led by 10 states that have the greatest amount of solar energy capacity installed per capita. These 10 states have opened the door for solar energy and are reaping the rewards as a result. Environment Illinois's new report reveals these states and the policies and programs that have led to their solar success.

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