Alternative Fuels

As part of its ongoing effort to improve air quality, the City of Chicago is working with the Chicago Area Clean Cities (CACC) coalition and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus to promote the use of alternative fuel vehicles—vehicles powered by "clean" fuels such as compressed natural gas, E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline), propane and biodiesel—in Chicago area fleets.

Through two grants from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, the City and its partners are also creating the infrastructure to support these vehicles by building up to 25 private alternative fueling stations, such as the one that opened in November 2003 at 65th Street and State Street.

This "green" fueling station has a pump for compressed natural gas, solar panels that provide 13% of the station’s electricity and native landscaping to provide habitat for insects and birds. In addition, the station’s site uses a natural stormwater management system that captures rainwater in a shallow, clay-lined ditch containing native plants, where pollutants are removed through natural filtration.

The CACC coalition, of which the City is a coordinator, has secured funding to support  additional alternative fuel projects, such as a comprehensive program to educate more than 2,800 fleet operators in the Chicago metropolitan area about alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles, assisting municipal fleets in the acquisition of clean fuel vehicles and building an infrastructure to support clean fuel vehicles.

Green Taxi Program

The City of Chicago's Departments of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) and Department of Environment announced the Green Taxi Incremental Cost Allowance Program (“Green Taxi Program”) and encourage taxicab owners to take advantage of this program. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is now partnering on this program as well.

The program will help the taxi industry purchase cost-effective hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles, help the City to move closer to reaching carbon emission goals as set out in the Chicago Climate Action Plan, and provide passengers with trips in modern and environmentally sustainable vehicles.

The City received a Clean Cities grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. The Green Taxi Program uses $1,000,000 in funding from this grant to reimburse up to a set amount of the cost of certain hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles. This is a first-come, first-served selection process for funding, so please be aware that once funding runs out, the department will stop rewarding reimbursements.

To participate in the program, the vehicle MUST be purchased and on the road by Dec. 31, 2011.  If you purchased an approved vehicle this year already it WILL qualify.  Vehicles must be on the Department’s Approved Vehicle List. Please be sure to check with the Department before purchasing any vehicle.

Hybrids can be reimbursed for $2,000.  That is the maximum allowed by the federal government under this program.  CNG or propane powered vehicles can be reimbursed for up to 100% of the implemental cost, which is typically between $9,000 and $14,000. Electric vehicles are not qualified under this program.

The Green Taxi Program is an opportunity for the City to reach a goal of increasing the number of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles and an opportunity to make it more affordable for owners to purchasing a hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle. The benefit to drivers will be felt at the pump.   All applicants need to review and complete all of the material listed below. Please click on the links to access each one.

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