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Clean Fuels in the Pacific Coast Region

On February 15, 2015, the Oregon legislature passed a bill to create the Oregon Clean Fuels Program. The program aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions released by transportation vehicles in the state by implementing clean fuel sources such as electric vehicles, compressed natural gas, and advanced biofuel facilities. These changes to transportation fuels reduce air pollutants, improve public health, and increase energy security.

In 2010, Jack Faucett Associates, an economic research and public policy firm, completed an economic analysis of the Oregon Clean Fuels Program. The findings showed that there would be significant economic benefits for Oregon from the implementation of the program. Here’s how.

The program significantly bolsters employment, personal income growth, and gross state product. Between the years 2006 and 2011, Oregon faced a 5% drop in employment. However, with the implementation of the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, Jack Faucett Associates predicted that 29,290 jobs will be created and that a total of $2.6 Billion will be added to personal income in the state. Employment in the state has increased by 13.7%. This growth comes from new companies moving into the area and opening facilities, such as clean fuel producers like Pacific Ethanol, ZeaChem, and Tidewater Terminal. In addition to this growth, the program will also potentially save Oregonian consumers $1.6 Billion in fuel costs.

Like Oregon, California, British Columbia, and Washington are also working on low-carbon fuel policies. A study, conducted in January of this year by the International Council on Clean Transportation and E4tech, presented four primary conclusions about the Pacific Coast region’s efforts as a group to reduce carbon and meet their respective transportation and policy targets. These conclusions are:

  1. Low-carbon fuels can replace over a quarter of the gasoline and diesel used by vehicles in the Pacific Coast region by 2030. This is about 400,000 barrels per day until 2030.
  2. Low-carbon fuels can reduce the overall carbon intensity of on-road transportation fuels in the region by 14%–21% by 2030.
  3. The specific fuel policy targets established or proposed for fuel carbon intensity reductions can be met in a variety of ways, including conventional biofuels, electric-drive, natural gas, and natural gas and hydrogen.
  4. There are many ways to achieve low-carbon fuel goals. Decarbonization goals do not require a breakthrough in one technology or major change in a single market.

These conclusions show that carbon fuels can easily and by many means be replaced by low-carbon fuels. By significantly reducing carbon emitted by transportation vehicles, major strides can be made in the overall air quality, health of residents, energy security in the Pacific Coast Region, and good economics.

Read the full report here.