On Tuesday, CALSTART held its annual Clean, Low-Carbon Fuels Summit in Sacramento, Calif., where attendees discussed opportunities and challenges in clean fuel commercialization and usage.
CALSTART, a consortium dedicated to expanding the clean transportation industry, says over 150 individuals representing California's legislature, clean fuel producers and consumers met at the event.
Topics included low gasoline prices and policies in California, especially the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard.
“OPEC is cutting prices to keep competition from taking root – competition from companies like we have here today,” said John Boesel, president and CEO of CALSTART. “To the extent low-carbon fuel companies, fleet operators and policymakers can work together to keep the clean fuels market humming, then we'll no longer be strapped into the oil price rollercoaster.”
Â “Californians need energy choices,” commented Rodger Schwecke, vice president of customer solutions of SoCalGas. “Cleaner low-carbon fuels, such as natural gas, are an abundant and affordable energy source that can compete with petroleum fuels right now. They can also help California achieve its clean energy and greenhouse-gas goals while simultaneously supporting a strong economy.”
The Low-Carbon Fuel Standard, issued in 2007, calls for a reduction of at least 10% in the carbon intensity of California's transportation fuels by 2020. Citing research analysis, CALSTART says that in the first two years that the standard was in effect, low-carbon transportation fuels displaced more than 2 billion gallons of gasoline and 77 million gallon-equivalents of diesel.
Furthermore, the group says electric vehicles (EVs) are selling faster than hybrids did when they were at the same point in their production cycle. According to projections, by 2030, EVs could displace up to 3.3 billion gallons of petroleum per year in California alone.
“It's easy to forget the pain at the pump, but today's fuel prices shouldn't stop us from investing in alternatives,” said Caroline Choi, vice president of energy and environmental policy at Southern California Edison. “Last year, California surpassed 100,000 plug-in car sales. We are well on our way, but we still have a long way to go and need policies like the Low-Carbon Fuels Standard to keep the momentum going.”
Russ Teall, president and founder of California-based biofuel producer Biodico, said, “[A Low-Carbon Fuel Standard] that looks beyond 2020 could give us the certainty we need to continue to invest in our industry and our community.”