New Report: Ethanol Playing Key Role in California’s LCFS Program

A recent Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) analysis shows that as California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) reaches its halfway point, grain-based ethanol has provided nearly half of the greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions under the first five years of the program.

Seven years ago, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) formally adopted the LCFS, requiring fuel suppliers to reduce the carbon intensity (CI) of gasoline and diesel fuels by 10 percent between 2011 and 2020. When the regulation was adopted in 2009, it was expected that grain-based ethanol produced in the Midwest would make a quick exit from the California fuel market due to CARB’s flawed assumption that the CI of corn ethanol was higher than gasoline.RFA_logo-new

But in reality, data released by CARB last week shows that consumption of grain ethanol has increased under the LCFS, and the biofuel has been responsible for 46 percent of the total carbon credits and roughly 75 percent of the credits generated by fuels that replace gasoline (one credit is equivalent to 1 metric ton of GHG reduction). Of the 16.55 million credits generated since enforcement began in 2011, grain ethanol is responsible for 7.58 million metric tons (MMT). To date, grain ethanol has provided substantially more credits than any other fuel used under the LCFS.

“California regulators are finally recognizing what we in the industry have known for decades — that ethanol is a high octane, low-cost alternative fuel that is readily available and offers meaningful GHG savings compared to gasoline. Seven years later, despite CARB’s bogus indirect land use change penalties, ethanol made from corn and sorghum has proven to be an essential tool to help meet LCFS requirements,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “However, more needs to be done to ensure ethanol remains available as a viable compliance option for the LCFS over the next five years.”

To read RFA’s entire white paper, “As California LCFS Reaches Halfway Mark, Grain Ethanol Provides Half of Carbon Credits,” please click here.

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