California Biodiesel Mandate Moves Forward

California State Senator Christine Kehoe’s measure to increase the state’s use of biodiesel by 2008 continued to progress through the legislature yesterday when it passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee by a vote of 4 to 2. Senate Bill 1675 requires that biodiesel be blended into the state’s existing diesel fuel supply at a level of 2% by 2008, and 5% by 2010.

“Biodiesel is clean, renewable, and can be produced in state on California farmland. By blending it into the state’s existing fuel supply, it will not only improve our air quality, it will help California secure its independence from big oil and over reliance on oil imports,” said Senator Kehoe. Biodiesel is shown to emit 70% less greenhouse gas emissions and 78% less CO2 than diesel fuel. Because it can be made from a variety of crops and even fast food cooking oil and can be produced in California, it takes less of a toll on the environment while also lessening the need to import petroleum oil from foreign countries. California’s current dependency on foreign oil exacerbates our vulnerability to oil price spikes. California consumed almost 3 billion gallons of diesel in 2005. This bill would increase the amount of biodiesel used from 5 million gallons in 2005 to 61 million gallons by 2008 and 164 million gallons by 2010. According to the National Biodiesel Board, the capacity exists to meet the biodiesel goals set forth in this bill. Requiring increasing amounts of biodiesel in our fuel supply begins a real transition into alternative fuels that can help preserve California’s transportation security, public and environmental health, and economy. SB 1675 now proceeds to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

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