The California Energy Commission, by a 4-0 vote, adopted a plan to slash the state's heavy dependence on petroleum and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"California should pursue a diversified portfolio of transportation fuels," said Energy Commission Vice Chairman James D. Boyd. "We can achieve our state's goals of reducing petroleum dependence and of stimulating production of biofuels within California, using its waste streams while increasing our use of low carbon, alternative fuels."
California's 24 million registered vehicles, the most of any state, are 96 percent reliant on petroleum fuels responsible for 41 percent of the state's greenhouse gas emissions. The state, the second largest consumer of gasoline in the world, used 16 billion gallons last year.
The State Alternative Fuels Plan approved by the Energy Commission was mandated by AB 1007 (Pavley) aimed at cleaning the state's air, diversifying fuel sources and protecting the state from oil spikes that affect prices, the economy and jobs. The plan supports Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's goal of reducing statewide greenhouse gases to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
To achieve this objective, the Alternative Fuels Plan, produced through an open and public process, in partnership with the California Air Resources Board — recommends that the governor set targets on a gasoline gallon equivalent basis for use of 10 different alternative motor fuels in the on-road and off-road sectors by 9 percent by 2012, 11 percent by 2017, and 26 percent by 2022. These targets do not apply to air, rail, or marine fuel uses.
These goals will require a dramatic expansion in the use of such fuels as electricity, compressed natural gas, hydrogen, renewable diesel, bio-diesel and ethanol in motor vehicles.
Also built into the Alternative Fuels Plan is a multi-part strategy to develop hybrid and electric vehicle technologies; build the infrastructure to deliver the alternative fuels; increase the blending of more biofuels into gasoline and diesel; improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles; and reduce miles traveled by California motorists with more effective land use planning.
The Alternative Fuels Plan said public and private investments would be needed to offset the near term cost difference between gasoline or diesel and alternative fuel use. Investments are also needed to share the cost of building fueling stations, and fund the development and demonstration of clean and advanced transportation technologies. The recent passage of AB 118 (Nunez) provides the Energy Commission and the Air Resources Board with ongoing funding until 2016, for alternative fuels and vehicle technology commercialization to meet multiple policy goals and stimulate the transition to clean fuel diversity.
The Alternative Fuels Plan was created in response to the governor's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), which seeks to reduce the carbon intensity of the state's fuel supply by 10 percent by 2020. This would be equivalent to taking 3 million cars off the road.
In line with the LCFS, the Energy Commission earlier adopted and submitted to the Air Resources Board, a full fuel cycle analysis of targeted alternative fuels. The analysis identified fuels that caused no significant effect on public health and environmental quality.
The goal of the Alternative Fuels Plan is to expand investment in alternative fuels through the enormous market power of California's economy, thus holding back the state government from picking which alternative fuels win, leaving that decision to consumers and entrepreneurs.