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A Low-Carbon Fuel Standard for California, Part 1: Technical Analysis


  • Farrell, Alexander
  • Sperling, Daniel


Executive Order S-1-07, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) (January 18, 2007), calls for a reduction of at least 10 percent in the carbon intensity of California’s transportation fuels by 2020. It instructed the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency to coordinate activities between the University of California and various state agencies to develop and propose a draft compliance schedule to meet the 2020 Target. This report is the first of two by the University of California in response. This first study assesses the low-carbon fuels options that might be used to meet the proposed standard, and presents a number of scenarios for mixes of fuels that might meet a 5, 10, and 15 percent standard. The second part of the study, to be released one month later, will examine key policy issues associated with the LCFS. On the basis of a study of a wide range of vehicle fuel options, we find a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 2020 attainable, but an ambitious target. With some vehicle and fuel combinations, a reduction of 15 percent may be possible. All of the technical options to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector (e.g. biofuel production and electric vehicles) have technical and economic uncertainties that need further evaluation and research, but there are many different options, of which many show great potential to lower the global warming impact of transportation fuels. Many research and development efforts are already underway now to bring these advanced technologies to market. This diversity of low-carbon fuel and vehicle options leads to a simple conclusion that the California Air Resources Board should include the LCFS as an early action measure under AB 32 (Núñez/Pavley), the Global Warming Solutions Act.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:itsdav:qt5245b5kx

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yang, Christopher & Ogden, Joan M, 2007. "Determining the lowest-cost hydrogen delivery mode," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt7p3500g2, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    2. Yang, Christopher & Ogden, Joan M, 2007. "Determining the lowest-cost hydrogen delivery mode," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt1804p4vw, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    3. Collantes, Gustavo O, 2007. "Incorporating stakeholders' perspectives into models of new technology diffusion: The case of fuel-cell vehicles," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt9bm1w968, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
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    Cited by:

    1. Milazzo, M.F. & Spina, F. & Cavallaro, S. & Bart, J.C.J., 2013. "Sustainable soy biodiesel," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 806-852.
    2. Hankey, Steve & Marshall, Julian D., 2010. "Impacts of urban form on future US passenger-vehicle greenhouse gas emissions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 4880-4887, September.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Rode, Philipp & Floater, Graham & Thomopoulos, Nikolas & Docherty, James & Schwinger, Peter & Mahendra, Anjali & Fang, Wanli, 2014. "Accessibility in cities: transport and urban form," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60477, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. 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.
    7. Hoffman, Steven M. & High-Pippert, Angela, 2010. "From private lives to collective action: Recruitment and participation incentives for a community energy program," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(12), pages 7567-7574, December.
    8. Leighty, Wayne & Ogden, Joan M. & Yang, Christopher, 2012. "Modeling transitions in the California light-duty vehicles sector to achieve deep reductions in transportation greenhouse gas emissions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 52-67.
    9. repec:eee:eecrev:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:191-215 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Creutzig, Felix & McGlynn, Emily & Minx, Jan & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2011. "Climate policies for road transport revisited (I): Evaluation of the current framework," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 2396-2406, May.
    14. 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.
    15. Daniel M. Kammen & Alexander E. Farrell & Richard J. Plevin & Andrew D. Jones & Mark A. Delucchi & Gregory F. Nemet, 2007. "Energy and Greenhouse Impacts of Biofuels: A Framework for Analysis," OECD/ITF Joint Transport Research Centre Discussion Papers 2007/2, OECD Publishing.
    16. 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.
    17. Hester, Annette & Lawrence, Leah, 2010. "A sub-national public-private strategic alliance for innovation and export development: the case of the Canadian province of Alberta's oil sands," Documentos de Proyectos 292, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    18. repec:spr:nathaz:v:89:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11069-017-2981-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Yang, Christopher, 2013. "Fuel electricity and plug-in electric vehicles in a low carbon fuel standard," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 51-62.

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