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California adopts landmark low-carbon fuel rule

Posted Friday, Apr 24, 2009, 1:11 pm in Industry News

California on Thursday adopted a first-ever rule to slash carbon emissions in automotive fuels and spur the market for cleaner gasoline alternatives, after a last-ditch appeal to ethanol advocates who fought the plan, Reuters reported.

The low-carbon fuel standard approved by the state’s influential air-quality regulators was hailed by backers as an historic initiative that the rest of the United States and other countries were likely to emulate, the news service said. The move marks the first attempt by government anywhere in the world to subject transportation fuels—as opposed to the cars and trucks they power—to limits on their potential for releasing greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, the story said.

At least 11 other states are weighing similar rules, and President Barack Obama has called for a nationwide low-carbon fuel standard to help meet his goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions more than 80 percent by mid-century, according to the news service.

The measure, if it works as designed, will hasten the transformation of vehicles and the supporting transportation network built for more than a century around refined petroleum products and the internal combustion engine, Reuters said. But ethanol industry executives and other critics say the measure contains a built-in bias against biofuels—especially those made from corn—that will undermine regulators’ aims of helping abate climate change and reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, the story said. (Reuters)
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