California Encourages Renewable Fuels

A dual agency report adopted by California Energy Commission and California Air Resources Board (CARB) says that synthetic diesel, renewable bio-diesel, ethanol blends, along with non-renewable but cleaner-burning liquefied petroleum gas, natural gas, and electricity could play a greater role in California’s transportation fuel market.

Sacramento, California – July 31, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The report also says that price and fueling facilities currently limit their availability to consumers. Long-term options such as hydrogen fuel cells appear to be promising, and will require significant further development to achieve widespread consumer acceptance, according to the report. Improving the energy efficiency of new cars, pickups and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) stands as the most cost-effective way to reduce California’s reliance on petroleum, says a dual-agency report adopted recently by the California Energy Commission. The report enjoins the State’s top government officials to work with other states in prompting the Federal government to double the on-road fuel economy of new light-duty vehicles. The average fuel economy of cars and light trucks has declined from about 26 mpg in 1988 to 24 mpg in 2000 because of increasing vehicle size and power, the rising market share of light trucks, and the lack of tougher corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. Californians also should have the opportunity to use more energy efficient replacement tires, should improve vehicle maintenance to gain energy efficiency benefits, and should encourage governments to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles. The report also said sustained reductions in petroleum demand would depend on greater use of non-petroleum transportation fuels. According to the report all reduction strategies are necessary because California faces a future of increasing petroleum dependence, possible supply disruptions and accompanying price spikes, the report acknowledged. In 2000, California had a population of 33.8 million driving 24 million registered vehicles and consuming 16.4 billion gallons of gasoline a year. By 2020, the report said it is possible that 45.5 million Californians will have 31.5 million registered vehicles consuming 24.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually. “In every other energy arena we put energy efficiency first, we should do the same for transportation,” said Commissioner James Boyd, chair of the Energy Commission’s Transportation Committee. “Our message to federal policy-makers should be clear. Significant improvements in vehicle fuel economy are possible without sacrificing consumer choice or public safety. By adopting this report, we hope to re-engage in a fair and open national debate on the benefits of improvements to vehicle efficiency. The arguments are compelling — greater efficiency saves consumers money.”
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