Publication Detail

Status Review of California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, 2011-2015: May 2016 Issue


Research Report

Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS)

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Suggested Citation:
Yeh, Sonia and Julie Witcover (2016) Status Review of California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, 2011-2015: May 2016 Issue. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-16-02

• From 2011–2015, the average fuel carbon intensity (AFCI) of all alternative fuels reported to the program declined 21 percent, from near 86 grams carbon dioxide equivalent per mega-joule of fuel energy (gCO2e/MJ) to just over 68 gCO2e/MJ.

• Alternative fuels contributed 6.2 percent of California’s transportation fuels by energy content in 2011 and 2012, and reached 8.1 percent in 2015. Fuels other than liquid biofuels comprised 10.9 percent of alternative fuel transport energy in 2014 and 2015.

• From 2011–2015, the LCFS required a reduction of 9.2 million metric tons (MMT) CO2e from the baseline. The total emissions reductions reported for the same period was 16.8 MMT CO2e, or 7.4 MMT more than required by the regulation (overcomplying by 81 percent).

• Increases in alternative fuel use came primarily from biodiesel, renewable diesel, biogas and electricity. Use of ethanol, the largest renewable fuel by volume, remained close to a “blendwall” of 10 percent blended with gasoline, the maximum allowed without alternative infrastructure.

• Total electric vehicle miles traveled (eVMT) in 2015 is estimated to be around 1.3 billion miles based on reported electricity consumption of 431 gigawatt-hours (GWh) or 13 million gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE). None of the 2.2 million gallons (1.5 million GGE) of cellulosic ethanol used in the U.S. in 2015 was consumed in California.

• LCFS credit prices have shown considerable variation. The average credit price was $20 early in the program (and while the standard was frozen at 1%). Prices have remained above $100/credit thus far in 2016. The overall nominal value of all credit transfers was calculated at $430 million (December 2012–April 2016).

• Other jurisdictions’ LCFS programs, including the European Union Fuel Quality Directive, the British Columbia Renewable & Low Carbon Fuel Requirements Regulation, and the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, share many features with California’s LCFS but have distinct provisions as well.