Arlington Heights' snow plows that got a workout in recent weeks are not only mean, but green.
They're among a public works department fleet of just over 100 vehicles and some two dozen other pieces of off-road equipment that fully operate year-round on B20 biodiesel fuel.
Now the village is ramping up its use of hybrid vehicles for the police department with the purchase this week of four new Ford Utility Police Interceptors. They cost $38,221 each, while a fifth non-hybrid vehicle was $35,376 that officials say is needed for the additional cooling demands for a police dog.
The purchases come on the heels of a recent tour of the village's fleet operations by Village Manager Randy Recklaus, Mayor Tom Hayes and the staff of local state legislators.
Arlington Heights is one of only seven municipalities in Illinois to use a higher blend of biodiesel fuel that is 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel. Elsewhere, the biodiesel blend is 11%/89%.
It's made from soybeans, vegetables oils and animal fats produced in Illinois.
The village's public works department has been using biodiesel since 2007.
"Between our shift now over the last couple of years toward hybrids in our police department and the use of the highest type of biodiesel for our diesel fleet, we really have one of greenest fleets in our area for public works," Recklaus said. "That shift is occurring and it's something that we're proud of."
Village officials say use of the cleaner renewable fuel means 117 fewer tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. That's like installing more than 4,000 LED bulbs, or planting about 1,700 trees.