Clean Fuels Standards: increasing EVs, decreasing emissions

Clean fuels standards are a proven mechanism for lowering greenhouse gas emissions and creating thriving, homegrown alternative fuels markets. Just take California’s Low-Carbon Fuels Standard: much like Oregon’s Clean Fuels Standard, it requires that transportation fuels get cleaner over time. Fuel importers and producers can meet the standards by blending low-carbon biofuels into the fuel they sell, or buying credits from other low-carbon fuels like electricity or renewable gas.

A new and exciting finding from California’s policy is how it’s playing a major role in supporting electric vehicle growth. In 2016 the program generated $92 million to support transportation electrification. EV drivers, transit agencies, and private fleets can all benefit from the program. Electric utility companies generate credits when EV drivers plug in their cars, and in several locations, have passed that money along to drivers in the form of a rebate on their bill. (In Oakland, for example, EV drivers received a $500 credit on their PG&E bills, thanks to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard.)

Transit agencies earn about $9,000 per year for each electric bus in their fleets from LCFS credits, which is in addition to the $17,000 per year savings on electric fuel compared with diesel. Because their cars drive so many more miles than the average person, taxi operators and ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber stand to receive multi-thousand dollar credits each year for each electric vehicle in their fleet.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has released a new fact sheet detailing how California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard is helping to electrify the transportation sector. Their findings aren’t just good news for California; because Oregon also has its own Clean Fuels Standard, these success can be replicated here, bringing cleaner air and a lot less climate pollution!