DriveClean, a broad-based, multi-sector initiative representing agriculture, utilities, renewable fuel producers, environmentalists, technology companies, EV charging companies, and truck and bus manufacturers called on lawmakers to draft and pass bipartisan legislation to create a market-based, technology-neutral national Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) at the 118th Congress meeting in January.
A national CFS would use market forces to drive the decarbonization of the transportation sector, which accounted for 27% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2020. DriveClean calls on Congress to enact a technology neutral CFS. To accompany this effort, the initiative members unveiled a website, DriveClean.us, and principles for lawmakers.
“When you see support for a CFS coming from diverse players such as environmental groups, electric vehicle supply chain companies and renewable fuel advocates, it’s remarkable,” said Chris Miller, a former senior Senate policy advisor on energy and the environment, who now provides strategic advice to the group.
A federal CFS would decarbonise the transportation industry by establishing a schedule for gradually reducing the carbon intensity of fuel sources used to transport people and goods. Fuels would compete based on an annual average carbon score assigned to all fuel sources; the lower the carbon score, the more valuable a gallon (or gallon equivalent) of a fuel source becomes. Fuel sources with a CO2 score lower than the baseline generate credits. Fuel suppliers can obtain credits by blending renewable fuels; buy credits from other sources; and improve their efficiency using renewable energy.
DriveClean is publicly publishing its principles – which were the result of an inclusive stakeholder process – to put a CFS on the agenda for the next congress. While transportation-related provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will encourage investment in new fuels, clean vehicles and infrastructure, recent modelling* shows that the law will have little impact on meeting the 50-52% emissions reduction target in the near term by 2030.
“Congress must take additional steps to reduce emissions in the transportation sector by 2030 if we have any chance of moving to a net-zero economy by 2050,” Miller said. “A technology neutral CFS would accelerate the transition to a cleaner transportation industry by sending a strong signal to markets and providing investors with the certainty they need for long-term planning.”
In addition to cleaning up air pollution spread by fossil fuel vehicles, a CFS will boost domestic production in multiple sectors across the country and increase national securityy by reducing the need for dirty fuel imports by unfriendly regimes.
Several states have successfully enacted their own version of these policies, all of which have helped cut fuel prices, stimulated new fuel sources and associated infrastructure, and cleaned local air by reducing smog and soot that result from dirty, fossil fuel exhaust emissions driven. This is especially true for underprivileged communities that have historically been disproportionately affected by local air pollution.
Supporters of the initiative include:: New York Clean Energy Alliance; Institute of Advanced Engine Systems; Alt ingredients; US Coalition for Ethanol; alder fuels; Alliance of Automotive Innovation; bp pulse; Calgren renewable fuels; Calstart; charging point; Christianson CPAs and Advisors; ClearFlame Engine technologies; Clean Future; CleanFuelsNY Coalition; Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas; Electrify America; e-Mission Control; Great Plains Institute; Green Energy Technology; Lion Electric; Low Carbon Fuels Coalition; Fulcrum Bioenergy; MECA; New York League of Conservation Voters; Coupled power; POETTER; propelling; Rivian; Renewable Fuels Association and World Energy.
What they say:
“National fuel policies that reward electrification of transportation complement existing vehicle emissions standards and demand-side policies to accelerate EV market growth and greenhouse gas reductions.” – Chris Nevers, Senior Director of Public Policy, Rivian
“Few tools have been shown to be more effective than the Clean Fuel Standards for driving rapid decarbonisation, as has been seen in states such as California. They are performance driven, technology agnostic and fuel neutral, the perfect combination to unlock the private sector to invest, innovate and reduce carbon emissions.” – dr. BJ Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO at ClearFlame Engine Technologies
“The biofuel industry applauds the efforts of the DriveClean initiative, which builds on the many achievements of the federal Renewable Fuels Standard while leveling the playing field for additional fuels and homegrown technology. Biofuels will continue to thrive under a technology neutral Clean Fuel Standard, with real emissions reductions, cleaner air and water, job creation and increased national security. Our members are poised to push Clean Fuel Standard legislation across the finish line and put the US on an achievable path to meet its short- and long-term decarbonization goals.” – Geoff Cooper, President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association
“We must act now to reduce pollution, emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels for transportation by encouraging electrification and decarbonising fuels. That’s why I’m encouraged by the release of the DriveClean principles. A national clean fuels standard would complement existing state efforts to clean up their transportation sectors, and is a proven strategy that improves both local air quality and the economy, while reducing greenhouse gas pollution and reducing the dominance of the fossil fuel industry in the transportation fuel markets is reduced. This is an overdue and much-needed first step to kick-start the conversation about a national Clean Fuel Standard.” – Julie Tighe, President, New York League of Conservation Voters
“Decarbonising our energy system is urgent but challenging. A clean fuel standard offers a promising mechanism to move away from fossil fuels in a sustainable and economically efficient way.” – Daniel Sperling, NAE, founder of the Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis. Distinguished Blue Planet Prize Professor of Engineering and Environmental Science & Policy __________________________________________________________________
* A recent analysis by the Rhodium Group concluded that in the best-case scenario, the Inflation Reduction Act would reduce emissions by 42% by 2030. That’s well short of the Biden Administration’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% by 2030. In addition, the IRA is expected to make barely a dent in U.S. transportation emissions by 2030, with most of the emissions reductions coming from the energy sector.
DriveClean represents a wide range of stakeholders who have invested deeply in reducing transportation fuel emissions. We represent automakers, farmers, utilities, environmentalists, science-based organizations, renewable fuel producers, technology companies, electric vehicle charging companies, truck and bus manufacturers, emissions control producers, clean energy nonprofits and more.
This initiative is facilitated by AJW and a network of entities and initiatives committed to scaling up the technologies needed to achieve a path to net-zero emissions by 2050.