Sacramento, California – California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) has released a proposed regulation to implement a low carbon fuel standard. The policy is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the state’s transportation fuels by 10 per cent by 2010, and more thereafter.

The proposed regulation would diversify the variety of fuels and boost the market for alternative-fuel vehicles. It is one of the most important early actions called for under AB 32, California’s climate change legislation, and is intended to achieve 16 million metric tonnes of GHG reductions by 2020.

“The real strength of this standard is that it takes a comprehensive ‘cradle to grave’ approach that accounts for greenhouse gas emissions from production, transport and tailpipe emissions,” said ARB chair Mary Nichols. “The new standard will promote the development of alternative fuels that can provide economic opportunities, slash greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce criteria pollutants and toxic air contaminants. It will help consumers by injecting competition into the transportation fuel market, and set California on a course to benefit from technological innovation, energy diversification, and economic development.”

The initiative is designed to increase the use of alternative fuels, replacing 20 per cent of the fuel used by cars in California with clean alternative fuels by 2020, including electricity, biofuels, hydrogen and other options.

The proposed regulation requires providers, refiners, importers and blenders to ensure that fuels provided for the California market meet an average declining standard of “carbon intensity.” This is determined by examining the sum of GHG associated with the production, transportation and consumption of the fuel. The state will provide funding to assist in the early development and deployment of the most promising low-carbon fuels, approximately US$120 million per year over seven years.

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