Saturday, Aug. 14


Illinois State Fair visitors can view a demonstration of website features at
Tech Town     
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Illinois travelers can access up-to-date gasoline price comparisons


[AUG. 14, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- While officially opening Tech Town, one of the most popular stops at the Illinois State Fair, Gov. Rod Blagojevich launched a new website Friday. On the website,, Illinoisans and visitors to the state can check the latest gasoline prices in Illinois and file complaints about price gouging. The site is part of the governor's comprehensive plan to address high fuel prices.

In the past year, Illinois has experienced an increase of more than 30 percent in gas prices, from a statewide average of $1.57 to more than $2 per gallon of regular unleaded. Gas prices in urban areas like Chicago peaked above $2.20 per gallon.

"People really feel the pain of high gas prices at this time of year. August is a busy travel month. Families try to squeeze in vacations before the school year starts. Our new website will help travelers -- and people who have to drive shorter distances to and from work every day -- prepare for the cost of their trips and know where to find lower gas prices," Gov. Blagojevich said.

The new site, on display at Tech Town -- located just south of Food-O-Rama and east of the Coliseum on the fairgrounds, is updated daily with the average price for gasoline and diesel fuel in Illinois. Consumers can also compare prices throughout the state by checking the data on more than 600 Illinois municipalities. While the Department of Agriculture inspects gasoline stations in Illinois to assure that customers are getting the fuel they pay for, the website allows consumers who feel they have been subject to unfair pricing to file a complaint.

The "Gas Price Monitoring" site also helps consumers learn about improving fuel economy, how gasoline is priced and how the petroleum industry works.

In addition, the site provides information about alternatives to driving, such as public transit, bicycling and car sharing.


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In April, the governor unveiled a comprehensive plan to help stem skyrocketing gas prices in Illinois. His plan involves a combination of action at both the state and federal levels to guard against price gouging while reducing the country's reliance on unpredictable and expensive foreign oil supplies.

As part of the plan, he signed two executive orders: one that charged the Department of Revenue, with the help of the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency, with the responsibility of monitoring retail and wholesale gasoline prices in Illinois; and a second that required state employees to use renewable fuels -- like biodiesel and E-85 -- in state-owned vehicles whenever practical.

In addition, Blagojevich's plan included aggressive promotion of a program that encourages state employees to use mass transit by allowing them to use pretax earnings to pay for commuting costs. The state also launched a toll-free phone number to provide private employers with information about how to set up similar programs for their employees. Interested state employees and private employers can call 1 (866) 637-9801 for more information.

[News release from the governor's office]

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