June 06, 2011 {authors} {/authors}

Fueling California: A future of alternatives

What kinds of vehicles will be rolling along roads in 2030?

{authors} By Fueling California: A future of alternatives {/authors}

California is a global leader in the development of alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicle technologies largely due to historic state policies and investment trends. Concomitantly, three principal forcing functions have driven worldwide efforts for the development of new transportation fuels and vehicle technologies as alternatives to petroleum-based fuels and the internal combustion engine:

1. Global climate instability caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

2. The need for long-term energy security (including energy independence)

3. Urban air pollution caused by criteria pollutant emissions from combustion of fossil fuels

California’s positioning provides an opportunity for the state to play a leadership role in the development and definition of the global alternative fuel landscape of the future. This report provides an overview of the current status and trends with respect to alternative transportation fuels and vehicle technologies, focusing on California. It also discusses the factors affecting the potential technical and market success of those technologies and fuels, and explores the future landscape for alternative transportation fuels and vehicle technologies in California over the next 20 years.

Gasoline and diesel currently comprise about 99 percent of the fuel mix in California. While California houses most of its own refining capacity, only 40 percent of petroleum consumed is produced in state. 15 percent is imported from Alaska and 45 percent is imported from foreign countries, primarily Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Ecuador. The light-duty vehicle sector is the largest contributors to GHG emissions in California while heavy-duty vehicles account for more than 4 billion gallons of diesel annually and emit proportionally high levels of criteria pollutant emissions like particulate matter (PM) and oxides of nitrogen (NOX).

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