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California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard: Compliance Outlook for 2020

California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard requires a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 2020, as measured on a lifecycle basis. The goals of the program are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, diversify the transportation fuels sector, and to spur investment and innovation in lower carbon fuels. This report represents the first phase of a two-phase, year-long project assessing the economic and environmental impacts of compliance with California’s LCFS out to 2020.

Adopted in 2007, California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard requires a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 2020, as measured on a lifecycle basis. The goals of the program are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, diversify the transportation fuels sector, and to spur investment and innovation in lower carbon fuels.

This report represents the first phase of a two-phase, year-long project assessing the economic and environmental impacts of compliance with California’s LCFS out to 2020. This phase focuses on the development of compliance scenarios based on market research, consultation with stakeholders, and market forecasts based on best estimates of fuel availability. These compliance scenarios are used to convey the outcomes of our research and analysis: namely, that the LCFS requirements can be achieved through modest changes in the diversity of transportation fuels supplied to California. The second phase of the work will focus on the economic and environmental impacts of these compliance scenarios, including parameters such as gross domestic product, jobs, and avoided damage costs.

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