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Regional Clean Fuels Standard

Reducing the Carbon Intensity of Transportation

New York is working with ten other northeast and mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia to examine the potential economic effects of policy options that would reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels.

For upcoming stakeholder meetings, please follow the link in the left column.

Currently, transportation in the northeast and Mid-Atlantic region relies almost entirely on gasoline and other petroleum products, which have high carbon intensity (high greenhouse gas emissions for each unit of energy). Transportation generates about one-third of the region's emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases (GHGs), and almost all transportation fuel is imported into the region from other states and nations.

Economic Analysis

In cooperation with the states, Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), a nonprofit association of air quality agencies, carried out an analysis of the economic effects of introducing low carbon intensity fuels into the region. Titled "Economic Analysis of a Program to Promote Clean Transportation Fuels in the Northeast," the study included likely effects on the region's fuel mix, GHG emissions and net costs and benefits under low and high oil price projections, as well as evaluation of a clean fuels standard as a policy tool.

The analysis suggests that a gradual transition to low carbon intensity fuels such as electricity, advanced biofuels and natural gas could be expected to enhance the region's energy independence, to decrease its vulnerability to price swings in imported oil and to strengthen the regional economy, while lowering GHG emissions.

Specifically, reducing transportation fuel carbon intensity in the region by 10 percent over 10 to 15 years could provide these benefits:

  • Reduce transportation-related GHG emissions by 5 to 9 percent by replacing gasoline and diesel with lower carbon intensity fuels.
  • Reduce gasoline and diesel use by 12 to 29 percent (4 to 9 billion gallons annually) in year 10 when the program is fully implemented.
  • Enhance energy security by replacing fuels made from imported oil with domestic alternatives, although gasoline and diesel would remain dominant fuels in the region during the 10 to 15 year period.
  • Achieve net savings on transportation costs when oil prices are high; at low price levels, costs would be near parity.
  • Create a small but positive effect on jobs, gross regional product, and disposable personal income within the region under a wide range of possible scenarios.
  • Provide a cumulative net economic benefit to the region of $22 billion to $41 billion over 10 years, not including the potential health benefits associated with improved air quality.

To view the full study report and a summary, follow the NESCAUM link at right.

Clean Fuels Standard

One of the policy tools under evaluation is a regional clean fuels standard. A clean fuels standard (sometimes known as a low carbon fuel standard) is a fuel-neutral, market-based program that would require a reduction in the overall carbon intensity of the region's transportation fuels.

The clean fuels standard would establish a target for the average carbon intensity of the region's transportation fuels, specifying a date by which the target should be achieved. Providers of transportation fuels would track their products' carbon intensity, earning credits for products with lower carbon intensity than the standard and showing deficits for fuels whose carbon intensity is higher than the standard. Fuel providers with an overall deficit could purchase credits from providers with lower carbon intensity products.

Carbon intensity is a measure that takes into account all GHGs and all emissions created during a fuel's full lifecycle (extraction, production, transport, combustion and indirect effects). Carbon dioxide is the dominant GHG emitted during the lifecycle of fuels, but nitrous oxide and other less prominent GHGs also are produced.

Clean Fuels Standard Listserv

In order to ensure that all interested New York State stakeholders receive timely information about the Clean Fuels Standard, while reducing redundant or unwanted e-mail notices, DEC has established a separate electronic mailing list (listserv) that is sent using the GovDelivery service.

How to subscribe

Individuals wishing to receive notices regarding New York State programs and opportunities related to the Clean Fuels Standard must subscribe to the New York State Clean Fuels Standard listserv. To subscribe, use this link to subscribe to GovDelivery ,entering your e-mail address when prompted. Fill in and submit the requested information on the "New Subscriber" page.

This will take you to the "Quick Subscription" page where you will see all the topics that you can receive email updates on from DEC. Scroll to the "Climate Change" category and check the box next to "Greenhouse Gases." You will receive a welcome email from DEC confirming your subscription(s).

Future notices regarding this program will only be distributed via these electronic mailing lists.

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