The Top 5: LCFS, Fuel Economy & Biofuels Regulatory Action

12.01.16 | Blog | By:

Happy Thursday friends! Here’s my weekly take on the five most interesting developments in LCFV trends over the last week, and boy was it busy:

  • Canada will follow British Columbia’s and California’s lead and implement a nationwide low carbon fuels standard (LCFS).
  • EPA’s got its foot on the gas (pun totally intended) to finalize the 2022-2025 fuel economy standards before the Administration handover in January.
  • The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report this week on the difficulties advanced biofuels, biomass-based diesel and especially cellulosic biofuels will have in meeting the Renewable Fuels Standard, something we all know already??
  • The European Commission, following last week’s trial balloon, released a sweeping set of energy- and climate-related legislative packages, including a revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED) that mandates specific advanced biofuels targets while phasing down food-based first-generation (1G) biofuels. Lots of unhappy folks in the EU right now.
  • China is encouraging EVs with policies and generous incentives so buyers are catching on. The problem is that purchases are not keeping up with infrastructure, among other issues.

1. Government of Canada: Government of Canada to Work with Provinces, Territories, and Stakeholders to Develop a Clean Fuel Standard

Following British Columbia, the Government of Canada announced this week that it would develop and implement a “national clean fuels standard”, essentially a low carbon fuels standard (LCFS) for the country. The country currently has in place a Renewable Fuels Regulation, which requires 5% ethanol in gasoline (but in actuality is at 7% right now) and 2% renewable content in diesel fuel.

The government’s goal is to achieve annual reductions of 30 megatons (Mt) of GHG emissions by 2030, providing a significant contribution towards achieving Canada’s commitment of 30% emissions reduction below 2005 levels, by 2030. This reduction is like removing over 7 million vehicles from the roads for a year. The government will follow California’s lead and develop a performance-based standard that sets carbon intensity standards that are expected to foster low carbon fuels such as electricity, biogas, hydrogen, and renewable fuels.

Environment and Climate Change Canada will publish a discussion paper in February 2017 to help guide consultations consisting of meetings, workshops, and technical-working groups that will help inform the development of Canada’s clean fuel standard.

Keep watching this space: I don’t believe this is the last country to follow the LCFS path.

2. U.S. EPA: Robust Technical Analysis Supports Leaving Carbon Pollution Standards for Cars and Light Trucks in Place Through 2025, EPA Administrator Finds

The race is on to finalize the 2022-2025 fuel economy standards, which was expected to happen next year, but has clearly been sped up before President-Elect Trump takes office in January. Read more about it here.

3. U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO): Renewable Fuel Standard: Program Unlikely to Meet Its Targets for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The GAO released a report this week finding it is “unlikely that the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)—reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector—will be met as envisioned because there is limited production of advanced biofuels to be blended into domestic transportation fuels and limited potential for expanded production by 2022.” Read more about it here.

4. European Commission DG Energy: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Promotion of the Use of Energy from Renewable Sources (Recast)

This week the European Commission released its draft revised regulation of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) affecting biofuels and advanced biofuels/alternative fuels. Read more about it here.

5. China Dialogue: Electric Vehicles Gain Mainstream Momentum

This article details how EVs are becoming more and more mainstream in China, although not without challenges and difficulties, such as:

  • The number of people purchasing EVs are increasing between generous financial incentives and a limit that only allow a certain number of gasoline-powered vehicles which is done by lottery. A queing system with a quota, 51,000 this year, has been developed to award EV registrations. However, that quota has already been hit with a substantial waiting list for next year.
  • Enough charging stations. Beijing had 6,789 public charging stations at the end of 2015, second only to Guangdong, but most cities have far fewer. Beijing added 1,000 public charging stations in the first half of 2016, and total private charging stations reached 8,000.
  • Impact of burgeoning EV sales on the grid, which is not prepared to handle at this time the increasing numbers.
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