Alternative Diesel Fuels Regulation

This page last reviewed on May 27, 2016

Background 

ADFPicThrough California and federal fuel policies, consumers are beginning to see increasingly cleaner and more diverse fueling options. The Alternative Diesel Fuels (ADF) regulation is intended to create a framework for these low carbon, and often times lower polluting, diesel fuel substitutes to enter the commercial market in California, while mitigating any potential environmental or public health impacts.  ADFs are those alternative diesel fuels that do not have an established ARB fuel specification in place prior to January 1, 2016.  

The ADF regulation consists of two major parts:
  1. A three stage process for ADFs to be introduced into the California market including, if necessary, a determination of mitigation measures to ensure no degradation in air quality.
  2. In-use requirements for biodiesel as the first ADF.

The ADF regulation consolidates many adminstrative and regulatory practices into one regulation that provides a clear framework for commercialization of ADFs.  The formal framework is necessary for two primary resons.  First, programs such as California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), and the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) are incentivizing the rapid development of ADFs.  Many of these fuels provide criteria pollutant and toxic air contaminant emission reductions in addition to their greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits.  Second, some ADFs may have adverse effects under certain circumstances.  For these reasons, the ARB adopted the ADF regulation to ensure that ADFs are commcercialized in California under specific requirements and conditions that avoid potential adverse impacts, while realizing the benefits that ADFs can provide.

The first ADF that will be subject to in-use requirements under the ADF regulation is biodiesel.  Fuel specifications and other requirements for future ADFs will be incorporated in the the ADF regulation through the formal rulemaking process.  Biodiesel has particulate matter (PM), GHG, and other emissions benefits; however, testing by ARB and others shows that biodiesel can increase oxides of nitrogen (NOx) under certain circumstances and without considering offsetting factors.  The biodiesel in-use specifications will reduce NOx  from current levels and Californians will continue to experience biodiesel's PM, GHG, and other emissions benefits.

What's New

  • May 27, 2016: ARB staff has posted updated versions of the ADF reporting form and the ADF FAQ document.  The documents can be found on the ADF documents page.
  • May 23, 2016: Public Meeting in Sacramento from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to discuss reporting and recordkeeping provisions of the Alternative Diesel Fuels Regulation  For more information...
  • March 2, 2016: ARB has developed an ADF reporting form to assist regulated parties to organize and collect the information to comply with the ADF reporting requirements.  The ADF reporting requirements are effective January 1, 2016.  Quarterly reports must be submitted by the end of the subsequent reporting period.  For more information...
  • December 22, 2015: A Frequently Asked Questions document has been released to assist compliance with the Alternative Diesel Fuel Regulation.  For more information...
  • September 25, 2015: The Supplemental Responses to Comments on both the Low Carbon Fuel Standard Regulation and the Environmental Analysis have been posted on the LCFS Rulemaking page.  For more information...
  • September 24, 2015: The Response to Comments on the ADF Regulation has been posted on the ADF Rulemaking page.  For more information...
  • July 15, 2015: The second hearing for the LCFS and ADF regulations has been shifted from July to September.  The hearing will be on September 24th and 25th in Sacramento.  For more information...
  • May 21, 2015: Staff reports for the multimedia evaluation of biodiesel and renewable diesel have been posted.  For more information...
  • Public Hearing Notice - February 19-20, 2015  The Board will conduct a public hearing on February 19-20, 2015, to consider a proposed regulation governing the commercialization of Alternative Diesel Fuels.  For more information...
  • November 21, 2014: Public Meeting in Sacramento from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to discuss draft regulatory language for the proposed Alternative Diesel Fuels Regulation  For more information...
  • October 20, 2014: Public meeting in Sacramento from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to discuss the Alternative Diesel Fuels (ADF) regulation.   For more information...
  • July 29, 2014: Solicitation of Alternatives for Analysis in the Alternative Diesel Fuel Standardized Regulatory Impact Assessment (SRIA). For more information... 
  • July 1, 2014:  Webinar from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PST to discuss ARB's ongoing assessment of the air quality impacts from biodiesel use.  For more information...
  • April 17, 2014:  Public meeting in Sacramento from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to discuss the Alternative Diesel Fuels (ADF) regulation.  For more information...
  • Notice of Decision Not to Proceed - March 14, 2014  Please be advised that Air Resources Board (ARB/Board) has posted a Notice of Decision Not to Proceed (NDNP) to withdraw the rulemaking to consider a proposed new regulation on the Commercialization of New Alternative Diesel Fuels. Along with ARB’s action to issue the NDNP, the rulemaking item will also be removed from the March Board hearing calendar.
  • February 13, 2014:  Public meeting in Sacramento from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to discuss the Alternative Diesel Fuels (ADF) regulation.  For more information...
  • Notice of Postponement - March 20, 2014  The Board hearing scheduled for December 12-13, 2013, to consider a proposed regulation governing the commercialization of motor vehicle ADF, has been delayed to March 20, 2014.  For more information...
  • Public Hearing Notice - December 12-13, 2013  The Board will conduct a public hearing on December 12-13, 2013, to consider a proposed regulation governing the commercialization of motor vehicle ADF.  For more information...

Public Meetings

May 23, 2016Public meeting in Sacramento from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to discuss reporting and recordkeeping provisions of the Alternative Diesel Fuels Regulation.

November 21, 2014 Public meeting in Sacramento from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to discuss draft regulatory language for the proposed Alternative Diesel Fuels Regulation.

October 20, 2014 Public meeting in Sacramento from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to discuss the Alternative Diesel Fuels (ADF) regulation. 

July 1, 2014 Webinar from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PST to discuss ARB's recently completed biodiesel emissions characterization study, the resulting new data, and the preliminary analysis  including this additional data. 

April 17, 2014 Public meeting in Sacramento from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to discuss the Alternative Diesel Fuels (ADF) regulation. 

February 13, 2014 Public meeting in Sacramento from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to discuss the Alternative Diesel Fuels (ADF) regulation. 

September 5, 2013 Public meeting in Sacramento from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to discuss draft regulatory language for the upcoming ADF rulemaking. 

June 13, 2013 Public meeting in Sacramento from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to discuss the continued development of regulatory concepts for establishing fuel requirements for alternative diesel fuels (ADF), including inlcuding new concepts resulting from the discussion at the previous workshop held on April 23, 2013. 

  • Meeting Notice and Agenda (PDF 1.7MB)
  • Preliminary Draft Regulation Order (PDF 26KB)
  • Draft Proposed Amendments to the California Diesel Fuel Regulations (351 KB)
  • ARB Staff Presentation on ADF (784 KB)
  • ARB Staff Presentation on Draft of Proposed Diesel Amendments (345 KB)
April 23, 2013 Public meeting in Sacramento from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to discuss regulatory concepts for establishing fuel requirements for alternative diesel fuels (ADF), including biodiesel, renewable diesel and other emerging diesel fuel substitutes.  During this meeting, we will discuss our biodiesel literature search, completed and on going emissions research studies, as well as preliminary regulatory concepts.

February 15, 2013

Discussion of Conceptual Approach to Regulation of Alternative Diesel Fuels (PDF - 658 KB)

ARB staff has posted a white paper which describes staff’s regulatory concepts for an Alternative Diesel Fuel (ADF) regulation.  Staff proposes an updated regulatory framework and addresses requirements for biodiesel and renewable diesel.  This white paper represents the culmination of staff’s evaluations and information gathered in public workshops over the past several years.  Public comments will be accepted as part of an upcoming public workshop, which staff will announce soon via a separate listserve email.



Related Links

LCFSCalifornia Air Resources Board

Low Carbon Fuel Standard
Fuels Multimedia Evaluations
Biodiesel
LCFSCalifornia Department of Food and Agriculture

Measurement Standards Division
  

RFSU.S. Environmental Protection Agency

  Renewable Fuel Standard
BFINU.S. Department of Energy

Alternative Fuels Data Center
Provides information on alternative fuels and vehicles including programs, events, tools, data, analysis and trends
Bioenergy Feedstock Information Network
Biomass feedstock information resources from the  U.S. Department of Engergy and other  research organizations.
USDA
DODU.S. Department of Defense

 Operational Energy Plans
DoD's energy policy interest in biofuels and alternative fuels as “sustainable and reliable” ways the United States can accomplish the defense mission.

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