The California Secure Transportation Energy Partnership (CalSTEP) has unveiled an action plan to achieve the state’s overall goals of reducing petroleum use by 15% and increasing alternative fuel use to 20% by 2020. CalSTEP is a diverse partnership of industry, government, academic and non-profit leaders, representing a diverse range of stakeholders, from automakers to conservation groups. (Earlier post.)
The multi-year Action Plan targets three key areas: increasing vehicular efficiency; diversifying the state’s fuel supply; and reducing the overall need to drive.
Without a change in policy, California fuel demand is currently projected to be 23 billion gasoline gallon equivalents (BGGE) for all on-road vehicles in 2020. In order to meet the 15% petroleum reduction goal established by the Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission, the state needs to reduce that use by 7.6 BGGE to 15.4 BGGE, 15% below 2003 levels, by 2020. The CalSTEP actions can achieve these goals if all actions or their equivalent are taken by reducing 2.9 BGGE through greater fuel diversity; 1.8 BGGE through reducing the need to drive; and 2.9 BGGE from greater vehicle efficiency.
Two underlying tenets of CalSTEP’s Action Plan are:
No single action is sufficient to address the state’s challenges in transportation energy; and
The state can take meaningful action independent of the federal government to buffer itself from the ill effects of excess petroleum consumption.
CalSTEP’s recommended actions build on the economic strengths of the state. These actions are not the only approaches possible, but they define where action is needed and some of the best steps to take. We would also welcome other approaches that can engage with industry to achieve the results needed.—Reginald R. Modlin, Director of Environmental Affairs at DaimlerChrysler
CalSTEP recommends actions in three primary and seven supporting areas. The three primary actions account for the bulk of the benefits in terms of reducing petroleum use and cutting global warming emissions. The supporting actions help achieve the goals, support state industry to create solutions and opportunities, and provide additional economic benefits. The primary actions include:
Alternative Fuel Portfolio Standard (AFPS)—a market-based approach for increasing alternative fuel use through fuel blending, dedicated use, and/or credit trading. Goals would be 10% alternative fuels by 2012 and 20% by 2020. (This is comparable to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard recently ordered by Governor Schwarzenegger. Earlier post.)
To facilitate implementation, the AFPS would direct the California Energy Commission (CEC) to design and implement a credit trading program that allows obligated parties to comply with the AFPS standard through the purchase of tradable credits if they cannot or do not wish to blend or sell alternative fuels.
Smart Communities—a program to spark more transportation energy efficient community design and development that sets goals for reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by 10% by 2020 in California’s urban regions and rewards communities who achieve who this goal.
Energy Security Tax Relief and Realignment (ESTRR) – a program to help protect Californians and investors against foreign oil price volatility and gaming that would use a revenue-neutral foreign oil security fee coupled with a rebate to all taxpayers to encourage the long-term production of and investment in efficient vehicle technologies.
The seven key supporting actions include:
California Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Partnership to expand alternative fueling stations and vehicles.
California Renewable Fuel Production Initiative to expand California’s ability to produce preferred fuels and to capitalize on their growing consumption.
State Fleet Leadership Challenge to fund and commit the state’s fleets to setting the standard for the use of efficient vehicles and alternative fuels.
New Transportation Future and Revolving Loan programs to spur the development and deployment of more efficient vehicles, technologies, and fuels.
Energy-Independent Vehicle Labeling Program to send simple, clear signals to consumers about which vehicles meet the highest efficiency targets.
Neighborhood Planning Revolving Loan and Transit Use Assistance programs to help communities plan for transportation energy efficiency.
Usage-Based “Pay As You Drive” Insurance to enable insurers to offer rewards to motorists who choose to drive less.
California Action Plan Summary