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For Immediate Release: June 29, 2006
Media Contact: Rob Schlichting - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission evaluates California
vehicles, alternative fuel possibilities


Sacramento - The California Energy Commission today approved several projects that will reveal how many vehicles use the state's highways - and what options are available to make those vehicles operate on something other than petroleum.

"We will analyze the most recent registration data from the state's Department of Motor Vehicles to tell us how many and what types of vehicles Californians are driving," said Energy Commission Vice Chair James Boyd. "The analysis will give us a better picture of whether or not fuel efficiency is becoming more popular with consumers as fuel prices rise; it will reveal what types of fuel those vehicles use, and what fuel options we should be encouraging."

At a Business Meeting today in Sacramento, the Energy Commission approved a $190,000 contract with RC Consulting to examine DMV's registration databases. Funding for the study comes from such varied sources as the U.S. Department of Energy, and the California Departments of Transportation, Parks and Recreation, and General Services. In addition to helping the Energy Commission better forecast how much additional gasoline and diesel Californians will need, the new information about the growing number of vehicles will aid Caltrans in planning road improvements. State Parks will use it to assess how changes in vehicle types and distribution impact their Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Program; General Services will use the analysis to better manage the state's fleet of vehicles.

A second $100,000 contract, funded by the Western Governor's Association, was also approved for TSS Consultants to assess different ways to make fuels like ethanol or biodiesel from biomass. No comprehensive study now exists evaluating the various technologies being developed to turn products like agricultural and forest waste into alternative fuels.

Assembly Bill 1007 calls for assessing alternative fuels and their benefits to the environment. It sets goals in 2012, 2017 and 2022 for alternative fuel use. The Energy Commission's 2005 Integrated Energy Policy Report recommends that on average, renewable fuels should make up a minimum of 10 percent of the state's transportation fuel supply.

In 2002, the most recent data now available, California registered approximately 20.5 million automobiles and 6.8 million trucks. California's vehicles consumed nearly 15.4 billion gallons of gasoline and 2.8 billion gallons of diesel in 2004.

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