Saturday, April 25, 2009

Calif Air Resources Board Passes Gas Content Reg 9 to 1

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed regulations expected to cut gasoline consumption by 25% and encourage development of low-carbon fuel sources for cars and trucks. CARB voted 9 to 1 in favor of the complex new rule that seeks to expand the market for electric and hydrogen-fueled vehicles and jump-start a host of biofuels (mostly cellulosic ethanol) to replace corn-based ethanol, as well as oil. The reduction in gasoline will have the result of reducing greenhouse gases. The regulation requires producers, refiners and importers of gasoline and diesel to reduce the carbon footprint of their fuel by 10% over the next decade. The state wants to cut greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050.

Under California's proposal, producers, refineries and importers would be forced to reduce the "carbon intensity" of their fuel by 10% by 2020, and by increasing percentages after that. Currently, California gasoline contains 10% corn-based ethanol, most of it from coal-powered Midwestern plants. Its carbon footprint is as high as gasoline's .But by measuring the "cradle-to-grave" effect of various fuels, the new rule would favor ethanol made from non-food sources. Even "low-carbon" corn ethanol -- such as the kind produced in California using gas-fired electricity and efficient machinery -- has a far higher carbon footprint than so-called cellulosic fuel from landfill waste, trees, switchgrass or sugar cane. (L.A. Times, L.A. Times, 4-24-09)

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