Oregon’s Clean Fuels Standard

Oregon’s transportation sector emits nearly 40% of our state’s climate pollution. Burning dirty fuels like gasoline and diesel is the largest source of climate changing pollution and it’s only getting dirtier.

The Clean Fuels Standard addresses fuel pollution by giving Oregonians more choices for clean fuels. Out-of-state oil companies are now accountable for pollution from gasoline and diesel, incentivizing them to reduce the pollution from the fuels they produce.

65% of Oregonians all over the state, from all walks of life, support the Clean Fuels Standard.


How it works

The Clean Fuels Standard requires out-of-state oil companies to gradually reduce the carbon pollution from their gasoline and diesel by 10% over ten years (beginning in 2016) – the equivalent of taking more than 1.5 million cars off the road.

Oil companies can either blend in low-carbon biofuels with gas/diesel or invest in proven technologies like electric vehicles, biogas made from waste, biodiesel and other clean fuels.

The Clean Fuels Standard transitions us toward the cleanest fuels, as they become available. It takes into account the pollution created in the “lifecycle” of a fuel — from when it’s harvested, through refining and finally out of the tailpipe. The fuels rewarded as the cleanest are those with the lowest total carbon pollution.


Clean Fuels in Action

British Columbia and California have clean fuels standards nearly identical to ours –  standards in place for 5 years that have cut air pollution and grown their economy.

California has cut 11 million metric tons of carbon pollution — equivalent to removing 2.3 million cars or 6 million tons of coal.  It costs less than half a penny per gallon of gasoline, while attracting more than $5 billion in the clean transportation industry.

B.C. cut pollution equivalent to removing 190,000 cars in 2012 alone. In 2014, customers were protected against a spike in oil prices because more clean fuels were available.

Companies like Waste Management, Fred Meyer, Frito Lay, Franz Bakery, UPS, Staples and Schwann Foods already use clean fuels in their fleets. They save money, pollute less and have longer lasting vehicles.


Healthier communities

Transportation pollution puts our health at risk. Every day, soot, smog-forming pollutants and cancer-causing chemicals like benzene are emitted by gas and diesel – triggering asthma, heart attacks and other health emergencies. Climate change makes many of these conditions worse. For that reason, American Lung Association is a proud supporter of the Clean Fuels Standard.

Oregon’s vulnerable populations are most gravely affected – from children and the elderly with more delicate immune systems, to low-income communities and communities of color living near major roadways and with decreased access to medical care.


Clean Fuels save us money

Many clean fuels cost less than oil and, by making fuels closer to home, Oregon is better protected from out-of-state production shortages and price spikes. It is why Consumers Union supports clean fuels.

In 2012 alone, Oregon sent more than $6 billion out of state to import gas and diesel. Just imagine the economic potential of keeping a percentage of those dollars in Oregon! The Clean Fuels Standard could save up to $1.6 billion annually in fuel costs for consumers and businesses.

More choices for consumers and more competition in the fuel market, which will drive innovation and save Oregonians money. That’s why the Consumers Union is a strong supporter of the standard.


Big Oil wants to roll back our clean air law

The oil industry tried twice in the legislature, once through a lawsuit and then proposed a ballot measure to roll back our clean air protections. Each time it failed.

Yet Big Oil won’t stop trying to take away our choices for fuels and our clean air law — with two more lawsuits filed and another attempt in Salem coming up.

To date, out-of-state oil companies have spent nearly $8 million to try to influence Oregon legislators to roll back the Clean Fuels Standard. It’s ballot measure to take away the law was so unpopular with voters, oil companies opted to not even try to bring the question to the people.


How Clean Fuels Fits In

Clean Fuels is a vital piece in a framework of policies that will help Oregon reach its climate protection goals — reducing our carbon pollution 75% below 1990 levels by the year 2050.

None of these policies alone can get the job done. We need all of them to successfully transition to a clean energy economy and make Oregon a leader in climate protection.

Clean Fuels Work… for Oregon Businesses

If your Oregon business produces or distributes clean fuels, you may be able to become a voluntary credit generator for the Oregon Clean Fuels Standard and reap additional benefits from your clean energy.