DRIVE: California's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program

Key Policies

State Alternative Fuels Plan

The State Alternative Fuels Plan of 2007 (Assembly Bill 1007, Pavley, Chapter 371, Statutes of 2005), jointly developed and adopted by the Energy Commission and Air Resources Board, presented strategies to increase the use of alternative and non-petroleum fuels for transportation. The State Alternative Fuels Plan set goals of reducing petroleum dependence by 15 percent by 2020 and increasing alternative fuels use to 26 percent by 2022. The alternative fuels proposed in the plan could achieve these goals and reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) by 15 percent to 20 percent in the near term.

Global Warming Solutions Act

The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 32, Núñez, Chapter 488, Statutes of 2006) established a goal to return the State of California's entire GHG emissions back to their 1990 emissions level by 2020. The Energy Commission has developed a goal-driven analytical method for establishing funding priorities and opportunities for the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program to achieve the AB 32 statutory requirement by 2020.

Air Quality Improvement Program

The Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP), administered by the California Air Resources Board (ARB), is the companion program to the Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP). The AQIP provides up to $40 million per year through 2015 for clean vehicle and equipment projects that reduce criteria pollutants and GHG emissions. The AQIP is guided by an annual funding plan prepared by the ARB.

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Regulation

The ZEV regulation was adopted in 1990 as part of the ARB's Low Emission Vehicle Program and has been modified several times since then. It requires large automakers to produce certain percentages of “pure zero” emission and “near-zero” emission vehicles for sale in California to meet California's air quality goals. The goal of the ZEV regulation is to meet California's air quality goals and has resulted in the introduction of new vehicle technologies in California.

Zero Emission Bus Regulation

The ARB's Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) regulation is designed to encourage the operation and use of zero emission buses in California urban bus fleets. The regulation affects large transit agencies with more than 200 buses and includes a 15 percent fleet ZEB purchase requirement.

Clean Fuels Outlet Regulation

The Clean Fuels Outlet (CFO) Regulation is intended to ensure fueling infrastructure is available for the alternative fuel vehicles that might be required by the ARB regulations. The CFO Regulation was amended by the ARB at a board meeting on January 27, 2012. To integrate CFO Regulation with the ZEV regulation, the CFO Regulation now focuses solely on the fuels of zero emission vehicles.

Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS)

The LCFS is administered by the ARB. Established in 2007 through a Governor's Executive Order, it uses a market-based cap and trade approach to lowering the GHG emissions from petroleum-based transportation fuels like reformulated gasoline and diesel. The LCFS requires producers of petroleum-based fuels to reduce the carbon intensity of their products, beginning with a quarter of a percent in 2011 culminating in a 10 percent total reduction in 2020. Petroleum importers, refiners and wholesalers can either develop their own low carbon fuel products, or buy LCFS Credits from other companies that develop and sell low carbon alternative fuels, such as biofuels, electricity, natural gas, or hydrogen. The Energy Commission expects the LCFS to have a significant early impact on the state's efforts to reduce GHG emissions by expanding demand for alternative fuels.

Bioenergy Action Plan

The 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan is a coordinated state agency approach to addressing challenges and maximizing opportunities for the development of bioenergy projects that promote economic development and provide the greatest environmental benefit. The plan outlines state agency actions that: 1) stimulate cost-effective utilization of the state's diverse biomass resources for conversion to “low-carbon” biofuels, biogas, and renewable electricity; 2) increase research, development and demonstration of bioenergy toward commercializing new technologies; 3) streamline the regulatory and permitting processes; and 4) quantify and monetize the benefits of bioenergy.

Renewable Fuel Standard

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established the Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS), which was revised under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 into the RFS2. The RFS2 mandates 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel to be blended into transportation fuels nationwide by 2022. The RFS2 will allow for credits to be generated and traded by producers and distributors of alternative fuels.

National Greenhouse Gas and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards for Vehicles

The combined U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards require passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. to meet an estimated combined average emissions level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile, equivalent to 35.5 miles per gallon (MPG) if the automobile industry were to meet this CO2 level solely through fuel economy improvements.

Renewable Portfolio Standard

Established in 2002 under Senate Bill 1078, accelerated in 2006 under Senate Bill 107 and expanded in 2011 under Senate Bill 2, California's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) is one of the most ambitious renewable energy standards in the country. The RPS program requires investor-owned utilities, electric service providers, and community choice aggregators to increase procurement from eligible renewable energy resources to 33% of total procurement by 2020.

Clean Air Action Plan

The Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach adopted the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan to reduce port-related air pollution, including particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur oxide, by at least 45 percent by 2012. As part of the Clean Air Action Plan, the ports are implementing a Clean Trucks Program, which aims to reduce heavy-duty drayage truck-related air pollution by 80 percent by 2012.

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