California Approves World's First Low Carbon Fuel Standard, Continuing Environmental Leadership

April 23, 2009

(Sacramento CA—April 23, 2009) Environmental Defense Fund commends the California Air Resources Board for today adopting the world’s first Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) that, once implemented, can dramatically reduce the environmental impact of transportation. By achieving this ambitious yet critical milestone, California will usher in widespread use of low carbon fuels that drive innovation and commercialization in new fuel production technology, vehicle designs and new and expanded fueling infrastructure. 

While achieving the 2020 goal will require expenditures, this measure is an investment that will yield extensive returns through fuel diversification, increased resilience to fuel price fluctuations, independence from foreign fuel sources, and development of emerging businesses.

Environmental Defense Fund believes the standard is an important hedge against higher, future conventional fuel prices. By helping develop better and cheaper alternative fuel production methods, low carbon fuels will become increasingly more affordable than gasoline as increasing crude oil prices take hold.

There are many reasons why Environmental Defense Fund, which has been analyzing the concept and structure of the standard for two years, supports it. Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of the LCFS is the market based structure that gives fuel producers flexible compliance options: they can reduce their own carbon intensity or use a carbon fuel market to find reductions. This approach is designed to inspire and reward extensive and immediate reductions in the carbon intensity of fuels.

The low-carbon fuel standard is an important tool to help California transform its fuel mix. When coupled with an economy wide cap on emissions that includes the transportation sector, the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard represents the ultimately cost effective and technologically feasible way to transform our transportation sector and meet carbon reduction goals.


Environmental Defense Fund, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 500,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems. For more information, visit