IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/trapol/v133y2023icp54-63.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

What does a low-carbon fuel standard contribute to a policy mix? An interdisciplinary review of evidence and research gaps

Author

Listed:
  • Axsen, Jonn
  • Wolinetz, Michael

Abstract

A low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) requires fuel suppliers to decrease the carbon intensity of their fuels on a life-cycle basis. California pioneered the LCFS in 2007, and versions have since been developed in other parts of North America, with LCFS-like policies emerging in Europe and Brazil. There is still relatively little research on the contribution that an LCFS can make to a climate policy mix. In this review, we summarize evidence and research gaps using a four-category interdisciplinary framework: effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, political acceptability, and transformative signal. First, regarding greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation, several studies demonstrate that existing LCFS policies have helped to cut emission to date, while modeling studies indicate that a stronger LCFS can play an additive mitigation role in a well-designed policy mix over the long-term. Second, policy cost-effectiveness is more uncertain; some studies suggests that although an LCFS is not likely to be as efficient as a carbon price, a well-designed LCFS could be an efficient complement to a mix that includes carbon pricing. Third is political and social acceptability, where numerous studies show that the LCFS receives substantial citizen support—more so than any pricing mechanism. Fourth is transformative signal, where the LCFS is associated with increased investment in low-carbon fuels and supportive infrastructure, and a stronger version could induce even more innovation in the long-term. We conclude by identifying research gaps, including the need to better understand the impacts of biofuels on indirect land-use and other sustainability measures, as well as improved simulation of longer-term technological change under a more stringent LCFS, including policy mix interactions.

Suggested Citation

  • Axsen, Jonn & Wolinetz, Michael, 2023. "What does a low-carbon fuel standard contribute to a policy mix? An interdisciplinary review of evidence and research gaps," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 54-63.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:133:y:2023:i:c:p:54-63
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2023.01.008
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0967070X23000082
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.tranpol.2023.01.008?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jonn Axsen & Patrick Plötz & Michael Wolinetz, 2020. "Crafting strong, integrated policy mixes for deep CO2 mitigation in road transport," Nature Climate Change, Nature, vol. 10(9), pages 809-818, September.
    2. Justen, Andreas & Fearnley, Nils & Givoni, Moshe & Macmillen, James, 2014. "A process for designing policy packaging: Ideals and realities," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 9-18.
    3. Antonio M. Bento, Richard Klotz, and Joel R. Landry, 2015. "Are there Carbon Savings from US Biofuel Policies? The Critical Importance of Accounting for Leakage in Land and Fuel Markets," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).
    4. Mark Jaccard, 2009. "Combining Top Down and Bottom Up in Energy Economy Models," Chapters, in: Joanne Evans & Lester C. Hunt (ed.), International Handbook on the Economics of Energy, chapter 13, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Weber, K. Matthias & Rohracher, Harald, 2012. "Legitimizing research, technology and innovation policies for transformative change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1037-1047.
    6. Farrell, Alexander E. & Sperling, Dan, 2007. "A Low-Carbon Fuel Standard for California, Part 2: Policy Analysis," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt8ng2h3x7, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    7. Stephen P. Holland & Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel, 2009. "Greenhouse Gas Reductions under Low Carbon Fuel Standards?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 106-146, February.
    8. Magnus Bergquist & Andreas Nilsson & Niklas Harring & Sverker C. Jagers, 2022. "Meta-analyses of fifteen determinants of public opinion about climate change taxes and laws," Nature Climate Change, Nature, vol. 12(3), pages 235-240, March.
    9. Farrell, Alexander & Sperling, Daniel, 2007. "A Low-Carbon Fuel Standard for California, Part 2: Policy Analysis," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt8xv635dc, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    10. Bhardwaj, Chandan & Axsen, Jonn & McCollum, David, 2022. "Which “second-best” climate policies are best? Simulating cost-effective policy mixes for passenger vehicles," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    11. Hu, Kejia & Chen, Yuche, 2019. "Equilibrium fuel supply and carbon credit pricing under market competition and environmental regulations: A California case study," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 236(C), pages 815-824.
    12. Bhardwaj, Chandan & Axsen, Jonn & McCollum, David, 2022. "How to design a zero-emissions vehicle mandate? Simulating impacts on sales, GHG emissions and cost-effectiveness using the AUtomaker-Consumer Model (AUM)," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 152-168.
    13. Horne, Matt & Jaccard, Mark & Tiedemann, Ken, 2005. "Improving behavioral realism in hybrid energy-economy models using discrete choice studies of personal transportation decisions," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 59-77, January.
    14. Huang, Haixiao & Khanna, Madhu & Önal, Hayri & Chen, Xiaoguang, 2013. "Stacking low carbon policies on the renewable fuels standard: Economic and greenhouse gas implications," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 5-15.
    15. Bhardwaj, Chandan & Axsen, Jonn & Kern, Florian & McCollum, David, 2020. "Why have multiple climate policies for light-duty vehicles? Policy mix rationales, interactions and research gaps," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 309-326.
    16. Farrell, Alexander & Sperling, Daniel, 2007. "A Low-Carbon Fuel Standard for California, Part 1: Technical Analysis," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt5245b5kx, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    17. Rhodes, Ekaterina & Axsen, Jonn & Jaccard, Mark, 2017. "Exploring Citizen Support for Different Types of Climate Policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 56-69.
    18. Axsen, Jonn & Mountain, Dean C. & Jaccard, Mark, 2009. "Combining stated and revealed choice research to simulate the neighbor effect: The case of hybrid-electric vehicles," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt02n9j6cv, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    19. Rhodes, Ekaterina & Axsen, Jonn & Jaccard, Mark, 2015. "Gauging citizen support for a low carbon fuel standard," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 104-114.
    20. Stephen P. Holland, Jonathan E. Hughes, Christopher R. Knittel, Nathan C. Parker, 2015. "Unintended Consequences of Carbon Policies: Transportation Fuels, Land-Use, Emissions, and Innovation," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).
    21. Kitt, Shelby & Axsen, Jonn & Long, Zoe & Rhodes, Ekaterina, 2021. "The role of trust in citizen acceptance of climate policy: Comparing perceptions of government competence, integrity and value similarity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 183(C).
    22. Daniel Rosenbloom & Jochen Markard & Frank W. Geels & Lea Fuenfschilling, 2020. "Opinion: Why carbon pricing is not sufficient to mitigate climate change—and how “sustainability transition policy” can help," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 117(16), pages 8664-8668, April.
    23. Jaffe, Adam B. & Newell, Richard G. & Stavins, Robert N., 2005. "A tale of two market failures: Technology and environmental policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2-3), pages 164-174, August.
    24. Loschel, Andreas, 2002. "Technological change in economic models of environmental policy: a survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2-3), pages 105-126, December.
    25. Small, Kenneth A., 2012. "Energy policies for passenger motor vehicles," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 874-889.
    26. Charles Raux, 2004. "The Use of Transferable Permits in Transport Policy," Post-Print halshs-00067895, HAL.
    27. Axsen, Jonn & Mountain, Dean C. & Jaccard, Mark, 2009. "Combining stated and revealed choice research to simulate the neighbor effect: The case of hybrid-electric vehicles," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 221-238, August.
    28. Lepitzki, Justin & Axsen, Jonn, 2018. "The role of a low carbon fuel standard in achieving long-term GHG reduction targets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 423-440.
    29. Sperling, Daniel & Farrell, Alexander, 2007. "A Low-Carbon Fuel Standard for California, Part 2: Policy Analysis," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt5hv693r2, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    30. Mazzone, Daniel & Witcover, Julie & Murphy, Colin W, 2021. "Multijurisdictional Status Review of Low Carbon Fuel Standards, 2010–2020 Q2: California, Oregon, and British Columbia," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt080390x8, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    31. Mark Purdon & Julie Witcover & Colin Murphy & Sonya Ziaja & Mark Winfield & Genevieve Giuliano & Charles Séguin & Colleen Kaiser & Jacques Papy & Lewis Fulton, 2021. "Climate and transportation policy sequencing in California and Quebec," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 38(5), pages 596-630, September.
    32. Eriksson, Louise & Garvill, Jörgen & Nordlund, Annika M., 2008. "Acceptability of single and combined transport policy measures: The importance of environmental and policy specific beliefs," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 42(8), pages 1117-1128, October.
    33. Von Wald, Gregory A. & Stanion, Austin J. & Rajagopal, Deepak & Brandt, Adam R., 2019. "Biomethane addition to California transmission pipelines: Regional simulation of the impact of regulations," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 250(C), pages 292-301.
    34. Farrell, Alexander E. & Sperling, Dan, 2007. "A Low-Carbon Fuel Standard for California, Part 1: Technical Analysis," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt6j67z9w6, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    35. Farrell, Alexander E. & Sperling, Daniel & Brandt, A.R. & Eggert, A. & Farrell, A.E. & Haya, B.K. & Hughes, J. & Jenkins, B.M. & Jones, A.D. & Kammen, D.M. & Knittel, C.R. & Melaina, M.W. & O'Hare, M., 2007. "A Low-Carbon Fuel Standard for California Part 2: Policy Analysis," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt1hm6k089, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
    36. Brown, Austin L. & Sperling, Daniel & Austin, Bernadette & DeShazo, JR & Fulton, Lew & Lipman, Timothy & Murphy, Colin W & Saphores, Jean Daniel & Tal, Gil & Abrams, Carolyn & Chakraborty, Debapriya &, 2021. "Driving California’s Transportation Emissions to Zero," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt3np3p2t0, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    37. Paul Lehmann, 2012. "Justifying A Policy Mix For Pollution Control: A Review Of Economic Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 71-97, February.
    38. Farrell, Alexander E. & Sperling, Daniel & Arons, S.M. & Brandt, A.R. & Delucchi, M.A. & Eggert, A. & Farrell, A.E. & Haya, B.K. & Hughes, J. & Jenkins, B.M. & Jones, A.D. & Kammen, D.M. & Kaffka, S.R, 2007. "A Low-Carbon Fuel Standard for California Part 1: Technical Analysis," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt8zm8d3wj, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
    39. Daniel Scheitrum, 2020. "Impact of Intensity Standards on Alternative Fuel Adoption: Renewable Natural Gas and California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 191-218.
    40. Geels, Frank W., 2002. "Technological transitions as evolutionary reconfiguration processes: a multi-level perspective and a case-study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1257-1274, December.
    41. Kivimaa, Paula & Kern, Florian, 2016. "Creative destruction or mere niche support? Innovation policy mixes for sustainability transitions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 205-217.
    42. Long, Zoe & Axsen, Jonn & Kitt, Shelby, 2020. "Public support for supply-focused transport policies: Vehicle emissions, low-carbon fuels, and ZEV sales standards in Canada and California," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 98-115.
    43. Rubin, Jonathan & Leiby, Paul N., 2013. "Tradable credits system design and cost savings for a national low carbon fuel standard for road transport," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 16-28.
    44. Yeh, Sonia & Witcover, Julie & Lade, Gabriel E. & Sperling, Daniel, 2016. "A review of low carbon fuel policies: Principles, program status and future directions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 220-234.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Hoyle, Aaron & Peters, Jotham & Jaccard, Mark & Rhodes, Ekaterina, 2024. "Additional or accidental? Simulating interactions between a low-carbon fuel standard and other climate policy instruments in Canada," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 185(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bhardwaj, Chandan & Axsen, Jonn & Kern, Florian & McCollum, David, 2020. "Why have multiple climate policies for light-duty vehicles? Policy mix rationales, interactions and research gaps," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 309-326.
    2. Yeh, Sonia & Witcover, Julie & Lade, Gabriel E. & Sperling, Daniel, 2016. "A review of low carbon fuel policies: Principles, program status and future directions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 220-234.
    3. Fox, Jacob & Axsen, Jonn & Jaccard, Mark, 2017. "Picking Winners: Modelling the Costs of Technology-specific Climate Policy in the U.S. Passenger Vehicle Sector," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 133-147.
    4. Huseynov, Samir & Palma, Marco A., 2018. "Does California’s LCFS Reduce CO2 Emissions?," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274200, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    5. Hoyle, Aaron & Peters, Jotham & Jaccard, Mark & Rhodes, Ekaterina, 2024. "Additional or accidental? Simulating interactions between a low-carbon fuel standard and other climate policy instruments in Canada," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 185(C).
    6. Lade, Gabriel E. & Lin Lawell, C.-Y. Cynthia, 2015. "The design and economics of low carbon fuel standards," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 91-99.
    7. Rubin, Jonathan & Leiby, Paul N., 2013. "Tradable credits system design and cost savings for a national low carbon fuel standard for road transport," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 16-28.
    8. Holland, Stephen P., 2012. "Emissions taxes versus intensity standards: Second-best environmental policies with incomplete regulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 375-387.
    9. Bhardwaj, Chandan & Axsen, Jonn & McCollum, David, 2022. "Which “second-best” climate policies are best? Simulating cost-effective policy mixes for passenger vehicles," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    10. Long, Zoe & Kitt, Shelby & Axsen, Jonn, 2021. "Who supports which low-carbon transport policies? Characterizing heterogeneity among Canadian citizens," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 155(C).
    11. Tittmann, P.W. & Parker, N.C. & Hart, Q.J. & Jenkins, B.M., 2010. "A spatially explicit techno-economic model of bioenergy and biofuels production in California," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 715-728.
    12. Yongxi (Eric) Huang & Yueyue Fan & Chien-Wei Chen, 2014. "An Integrated Biofuel Supply Chain to Cope with Feedstock Seasonality and Uncertainty," Transportation Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(4), pages 540-554, November.
    13. Fan, Yueyue & Huang, Yongxi & Chen, Chien-Wei, 2012. "Multistage Infrastructure System Design: An Integrated Biofuel Supply Chain against Feedstock Seasonality and Uncertainty," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt9g8413m5, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    14. Gang Tian & Jian Shi & Licheng Sun & Xingle Long & Benhai Guo, 2017. "Dynamic changes in the energy–carbon performance of Chinese transportation sector: a meta-frontier non-radial directional distance function approach," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 89(2), pages 585-607, November.
    15. Axsen, Jonn & Wolinetz, Michael, 2021. "Taxes, tolls and ZEV zones for climate: Synthesizing insights on effectiveness, efficiency, equity, acceptability and implementation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 156(C).
    16. Kammen, Daniel M. & Farrell, Alexander E & Plevin, Richard J & Jones, Andrew & Nemet, Gregory F & Delucchi, Mark, 2008. "Energy and Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Biofuels: A Framework for Analysis," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt5qw5g6q2, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    17. Dallas Burtraw, 2008. "Regulating CO 2 in electricity markets: sources or consumers?," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(6), pages 588-606, November.
    18. Parker, Nathan C. & Ogden, Joan M. & Fan, Yueyue, 2008. "The role of biomass in California's hydrogen economy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 3925-3939, October.
    19. Rocio A., Diaz-Chavez, 2011. "Assessing biofuels: Aiming for sustainable development or complying with the market?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 5763-5769, October.
    20. Fischer, Carolyn & Salant, Stephen W., 2017. "Balancing the carbon budget for oil: The distributive effects of alternative policies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 191-215.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:133:y:2023:i:c:p:54-63. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/30473/description#description .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.