Clean Fuels Standards Move Forward Across North America

Clean fuel standards (CFS), an important tool for reducing transportation emissions, are on the march across North America. A clean fuel standard, also known as a low carbon fuel standard, reduces greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions from on-road transportation by requiring dirty fuel providers, like oil and gas companies, to purchase credits from clean fuel providers, like electric vehicle chargers and low carbon biofuels. The program was pioneered in California a decade ago and has since been introduced in Oregon and British Columbia, Canada. Clean fuel standards, which were mentioned as an important climate mitigation strategy in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2018 report on holding global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, have since been gaining support across North America.

The Canadian government recently announced a national Clean Fuel Standard, to be fully implemented by December 2022, which will reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 13% below 2016 levels by 2030. In Washington State, the House of Representatives recently passed a CFS bill, which now goes to the State Senate with strong support from Governor Jay Inslee. Earlier this week, the New Mexico State Senate passed a CFS with support from the state’s Democratic governor, while earlier this year a coalition formed in Minnesota to support a CFS there. 

The New York League of Conservation Voters is leading a coalition, Clean Fuels NY, in support of a New York CFS. The coalition held successful lobby days on January 28th and March 11th, and momentum continues to build for the legislation. A CFS would support transportation electrification, displace dirty fossil fuels with low carbon biofuels and incentivize the biofuels currently on the market to be cleaner, and provide financial benefits to farmers who want to help fight climate change – all with oil companies rather than taxpayers footing the bill. You can read more about how a CFS would specifically benefit New York here

Achieving the ambitious goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which includes completely decarbonizing our transportation system by 2050, will require a expansive suite of policy tools, including state investment in the electric vehicle charging network, grants to municipal governments and school districts for purchase of zero emission vehicles, various changes to our tax code, working with utility companies, and expanding the number of zero emission vehicle retailers in the state, all of which NYLCV strongly supports. A CFS would complement all of these policies, making them stronger, and easier to implement, than they would be on their own. NYLCV strongly encourages our State Legislature to enact a New York Clean Fuel Standard in the 2021 legislative session.