Biomass based renewable diesel fuel sold at a 76 gas station in Lafayette, California, on Aug. 24, 2021. Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images
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The California Air Resources Board has announced a new landmark for the state: for the first time, over half of diesel fuel used statewide was replaced by cleaner fuels, as of the first quarter of 2023.
The shift can be largely attributed to the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which is designed to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions through improving vehicle technology, decreasing fuel consumption and providing cleaner fuel alternatives.
“As technological advances put a zero-emissions future within reach, the use of cleaner fuels offers an essential tool to reduce pollution now,” California Air Resources Board Executive Officer Steven Cliff said in a statement. “A 50% reduction in diesel means cleaner air, healthier communities and a commitment to reaching carbon neutrality in California by 2045.”
According to the California Air Resources Board, the cleaner fuel sources include “renewable diesel, biodiesel, electricity, and hydrogen.”
As explained by the California Energy Commission, biodiesel was first introduced in the state in 2000 and is made mostly from soybean oil and other recycled oils. First introduced in 2012, renewable diesel is made from animal waste oils.
Through LCFS, the state has swapped nearly 2 billion gallons of diesel fuel with these other fuel alternatives in 2022. Compliance with the LCFS began in 2011, and since then, the program has replaced about 8.6 billion gallons of diesel.
The latest milestone is part of the state’s goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2045, which is part of California’s AB 32, or the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act. In the spring of this year, USA Today reported that California approved a world-first ban on new diesel trucks by 2036, another step in the mission to minimize state emissions.
Earlier this month, the California Air Resources Board announced a new program to help truck fleet owners and operators transition to zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The program, called the Cal Fleet Advisor, offers free, personalized assistance and information on funding and other aid to make the transition.
“The transition to zero-emissions transportation — and to cleaner air — means working collaboratively with the owners and operators who provide a critical service to California’s economy by transporting goods across the state,” board chair Liane Randolph said in a statement. “Cal Fleet Advisor is an example of the innovative outreach and assistance that California has committed to provide to make a zero-emissions future a reality.”