Hailed by many as setting a new fuel standard to reduce carbon emissions and questioned by others as to its effect on smog levels and gas prices, the new regulation will reduce the carbon content of transportation fuels 10% by 2020.
"California will create the world's first global warming pollution standard for transportation fuels, ratcheting down fuel carbon content 10 percent by 2020 under a plan put forward by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday (Jan. 16) in his State of the State address.
"The new standard could have implications for the auto industry and change the way gasoline is produced around the globe Schwarzenegger plans to issue an executive order requiring the state's Air Resources Board to draft rules for a new carbon fuel standard, which would take effect in January 2010. His authority to do that comes from landmark legislation signed last year aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions across a wide spectrum of industries."
"The plan gives the makers of gasoline and diesel fuel discretion in how they reach the target. They can either reformulate their fuel or increase use of alternative fuels such as ethanol, natural gas and hydrogen. Gasoline sold in California already contains 6 percent ethanol."
"While some scientists and environmentalists applaud ethanol, others say that it is far from a sure bet in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and analysts said replacing petroleum with things like ethanol could actually raise prices for consumers at the fuel pump, especially in the short run.
"It definitely does raise a concern as to whether ethanol companies will be the primary beneficiaries," said Bill Magavern, a senior policy advisor with Sierra Club California Magavern, who applauded the initiative in general, cautioned that most U.S. ethanol actually increases summertime smog because it evaporates more quickly than petroleum."