Air Board Approves Alternative Fuels Plan With Changes

By Published On: November 16, 2007

The California Air Resources Board approved a plan to bolster alternative fuels November 15. However, it changed the blueprint, which necessitates it be reconsidered by the California Energy Commission. The transportation fuel plan–jointly developed with the California Energy Commission–calls for meeting 26 percent of the state’s transportation fuel needs with alternative fuels by 2022. It is backed by $100 million a year in funding under AB 118, a bill enacted into law this fall that will raise fees on state motorists. The Energy Commission okayed the plan last month (Circuit, Nov. 2, 2007). In its changes to the plan, the Air Board added language to place greater emphasis on protecting air quality as the state moves to alternative fuels. It also added language to better characterize the state of hydrogen as a transportation fuel and the status of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The document provides a foundation for work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Air Board chair Mary Nichols said, but “in a way the world has passed this report by.” That is because the blueprint is expected to be subsumed by the state’s forthcoming low carbon fuels standard, which the Air Board is developing under AB 32, the state’s climate protection law. Tim Olson, Energy Commission emerging fuels and technology office manager, said the commission’s board accepts the changes and plans to re-approve the revised plan at its December 5 meeting. The report, State Plan to Increase the Use of Alternative Transportation Fuels in California, was developed under AB 1007, which was enacted in 2005.

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