cleaner transportation and alternative fuels

Gasoline and diesel transportation fuels represent a major share of America’s most pernicious air pollution, water-borne toxins, and climate emissions. While we presently have better technological choices for cleaner electricity production than for transportation fuels, there is still significant progress available from more fuel-efficient vehicles, hybrid technologies, and alternate fuels. There is also much future promise in hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle technologies. CEERT has been working to clean up CO2 from cars and trucks, promote smarter transportation and development planning, and help develop an alternate fuel-distribution infrastructure as near-term means to reduce the impacts of fossil-fueled transportation.

Recent Developments:

Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS)

The latest evaluation of the LCFS indicates the program has succeeded in reducing the average carbon in­tensity (CI) of California’s alternative transportation fuel by 21% from 86 gCO2e/MJ in 2011 to just over 68 gCO2e/MJ in 2015.  During that period there were 16.8 million metric tons (MMT) CO2e in total emis­­sion re­ductions, or 7.4 MMT CO2e in excess of the target of 9.2 MMT CO2e (81% over-compliance).

Ethanol’s contribution to the reduction in the CI of California’s fuel has remained relatively flat, being limited by the 10% blend wall.  Biodiesel, renewable diesel, and biogas accounted for the majority of the increase in alternative fuel use during 2014-15, leading to credits in the diesel fuel pool for the first time surpassing those in the gasoline pool.  Electricity use increased from 0.4 million gallons of gasoline equiv­a­lent (MMgge) in 2011 to 13 MMgge in 2015.  Until legal challenges were resolved, the LCFS had been frozen at a 1% reduction target (below the 2010 baseline) during 2013-2015, but the target increases to 2% for 2016.  The LCFS requires that the CI of the gasoline and diesel pools be reduced 10% by 2020.

Electrifying Transportation

CEERT continues to track R.13-11-007 and A.15-02-009 (PG&E’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Education Program).  Several of CEERT’s affiliates remain active parties in these proceedings.

Alternative-Fueled Vehicles (R13-11-007)

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued an Amended Scoping Memo and Ruling adding transportation electrification issues to the proceeding pursuant to SB 350, reprioritizing the rulemaking’s activities given the approval of SCE’s Charge Ready (A.14-10-014) and SDG&E’s Power Your Drive (A.14-04-014) electric vehicle (EV) Pilots, and pro­pos­ing a revised schedule for addressing transportation electrification and the remaining original issues.

The CPUC held three workshops, two convened jointly with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Energy Commission (CEC), to dis­cuss the expanded scope of the proceeding (including advanced clean transit and medium- and heavy-duty vehicle electrifi­ca­tion).  Based on the progress with the IOU pilots and com­ments received ­in May on the workshops and the issues raised in the Amended Scop­ing Memo and Ruling, the CPUC will issue a ruling inviting fur­ther applications on transporta­tion electrifi­cation, including how to integrate EVs with evolving regula­tions for demand response and energy storage, and vehicle-to-grid applications that back-feed elec­tricity be­yond the primary utility meter, including “battery second life.”


Evidentiary hearings were held April 25 – 28 on the proposed joint settlement agreement for PG&E’s iChargeForward Pilot.  On July 7 the ALJ issued a set of supplementary clarifying questions to the Joint Settling Parties (JSPs) on outstanding technical issues, and gave the JSPs two weeks to respond, with other parties getting a subsequent week to comment on the JSPs’ responses.  The proceeding awaits fur­ther CPUC action.

Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicles and Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

On July 15 CARB released its latest progress report on fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and hydrogen fueling.  California now has 20 hydrogen fueling stations that are open to the public and operate like retail gas stations, including in West Sacramento and Truckee, and 331 FCEVs from four manufacturers are cur­rently on the road.  CARB and the CEC project 38 stations by the end of 2016, in­cluding networks in Los Angeles and San Francisco and connector stations in Coalinga and Santa Bar­bara; 50 fueling stations and roughly 6,600 FCEVs by the end of 2017; and approximately 75 sta­tions and 18,500 FCEVs by 2020.

Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program

The Staff Draft of the 2017-18 Investment Plan Update for the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Ve­hicle Technology Program will be released in late fall.