Washington State Bill would Launch Low-Carbon Fuel Standard in 2021

Source: By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Washington State House of Representatives passed a clean fuels standard on Tuesday, that would set in motion a low-carbon fuel by 2020.

The program is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels 10% below 2017 levels by 2028, and then 20% below 2017 levels by 2035.

To meet state GHG emissions reduction targets, Washington state will need to increase use of renewable fuels such as biodiesel and renewable diesel. Historically, biodiesel consumption in Washington state has been relatively low compared to the rest of the nation, according to a news release from the National Biodiesel Board.

 HB 1110 explicitly names biodiesel as a fuel that would fit the proposal, “biodiesel fuel that is not derived from crops raised on land cleared from old growth or first growth forests; or biomass energy.”It is unclear whether or if ethanol or other fuels would qualify under the state’s proposal. The bill indicates state officials have looked to LCFS programs in California and Oregon as examples. However, in recent years the state of California has met the vast majority of its low-carbon transportation fuel requirements with ethanol.
“The legislature finds that rapid innovations in low-carbon transportation technologies, including electric vehicles and clean transportation fuels, are at the threshold of widespread commercial deployment,” the bill says.

“In order to help prompt the use of clean fuels, other states have successfully implemented programs that reduce the carbon intensity of their transportation fuels. Without disruptions to fuel markets or significant impacts to the costs of transportation fuels, California and Oregon have both implemented low-carbon fuel standards that are similar to the program created in this act. Washington state has extensively studied the potential impact of a clean fuels program, and most projections show that a low-carbon fuel standard would decrease greenhouse gas and conventional air pollutant emissions, while positively impacting the state’s economy.”

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com