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Air Resources Board moves forward with clean fuels program
Adopts changes to streamline, add flexibility to Low Carbon Fuel Standard
SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board voted today to introduce some changes to its Low Carbon Fuel Standard to streamline procedures and clarify language.
The Low Carbon Fuel Standard is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels 10 percent by 2020. This will drive innovation to reduce the carbon intensity of existing fuels and develop the next generation of cleaner fuels, ultimately reducing the state’s reliance on petroleum. Transportation alone accounts for 40 percent of California’s Greenhouse Gas emissions.
"The Low Carbon Fuel Standard is an essential part of California’s program to move away from dirty fuels and toward a clean energy future,” according to Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “These changes streamline the program. They ensure that we accurately account for every gram of carbon released during the extraction and transportation of unrefined fossil fuels, no matter where they come from."
One key amendment will improve how the regulation accounts for the carbon intensity of crude oils. The carbon intensity of crudes can vary significantly with heavy crudes generally having a higher carbon footprint. The proposed amendments require that the carbon intensity of crudes be fully accounted for just like other fuels under the program. The provision also incentivizes innovation by providing credits for specific actions to reduce the carbon intensity of crude oil.
The amendments also clarify which regulated parties receive low carbon fuel credits for the electricity used to charge electric vehicles.
For residential charging, the electric utilities will be eligible for the credits, as they appear best suited to send the credit value back to electric vehicle owners in the form of rebates, time-of-use rates or other incentives. For public access charging, companies that install and service charging units in public settings such as malls or parking structures may receive the related credits. Finally, businesses that install private access charging stations for employees, or fleet operators that operate at least three electric vehicles may also be eligible for credits.
Regulated facilities began operating under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard in April of 2010. The Air Resources Board estimates the Low Carbon Fuel Standard will achieve 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas reduction by 2020. The standard is also expected to lead to replacement of the equivalent of up to four billion gallons of gasoline by then. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard will drive the development of new fuels to help clean California’s air and protect the state from dramatic price spikes seen with petroleum.
The Low Carbon Fuel Standard is designed to work with California’s new Cap-and-Trade Program and the upcoming Advanced Clean Car regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions now, and for decades into the future.
All documents related to these amendments are available at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2011/lcfs2011/lcfs2011.htm .
ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.