Oregon’s Clean Fuels program gets a major boost in 2020
Gov. Kate Brown’s executive orders enhances successful carbon reduction policy
Oregon’s Clean Fuels program will be extended and be strengthened, which will make it one of the country’s shining examples of successful climate policy with this week’s newly announced executive order by Gov. Kate Brown. The standard will now hit a 25% reduction in climate pollution by 2035 and 20 percent by 2030, making it the strongest in the nation.
The climate crisis is upon us, and Oregon’s new direction at climate action ensures that corporate polluters, including those in the fuel sector, will be held accountable for the pollution they create. Oregonians demanded bold climate action in 2020, and the executive order begins a sector-by-sector approach for the state to transition transportation, businesses, and buildings to lower pollution over time with clean, renewable options, which will save money and create jobs.
Gov. Brown joins governors from many states, like North Carolina, Maine, Wisconsin, New Mexico and Pennsylvania, in moving forward with bold climate action plans through executive action.
The Oregon Clean Fuels program has prevented 3.6 million tons of climate pollution, the equivalent of 778,000 tailpipe emissions over the near four years the program has been in effect, at a cost of pennies per gallon.
The program takes a holistic, or a “well-to-wheels,” look at how much climate pollution transportation fuels emit. This “carbon intensity” is measured for each type of fuel, with diesel and gasoline scoring the worst. The program then requires a 10% reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels over time.
That reduction is accomplished when lower carbon fuels (like electricity or sustainable biofuels e.g. waste grease biodiesel) are used in Oregon displacing petroleum fuels. We get real greenhouse gas reductions right here at home.
The program’s first year success set us on a great course. After more than three years, it is obvious how the program accrues benefits each and every year. Other states have been inspired by the benefits of our program–and are looking to leapfrog Oregon’s success. Washington and New York both introduced bills last year to create clean fuels standards that would achieve 20% reductions.
The program doesn’t stop with climate benefits. Since the start of the program it has also:
- Created over 150 jobs
- Supported the use of lower-cost fuels for transit buses, school districts, and local governments.
- Helped family-owned businesses transition to cleaner, more affordable fuels.
- Rewarded biofuels for lowering their climate impact, including a nearly 30% reduction in the carbon intensity of biodiesel.
- In the last quarter alone, displaced the equivalent of 40 million gallons of gasoline and over 17 million gallons of diesel.
- Reduced local air pollution. Gasoline and diesel are leading sources of air pollution, including benzene (which causes cancer), nitrogen dioxide (increases asthma attacks), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (linked to reduced fetal brain development), and particulate matter (linked to cardiovascular and lung disease).
- Businesses all across the state, from Coburg to Sherwood, Klamath Falls to Boardman, and Portland to Medford are signed up and using cleaner fuels. You can check out more success stories at cleanfuelswork.com.