Transportation & Alternative Fuels

Overview

California is working to expand the use and production of alternative fuels and vehicles for their benefits to air quality, climate change and to reduce our dependence on petroleum-based fuels.  Executive Order S-1-07, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), calls for a reduction of at least 10 percent in the carbon intensity of California’s transportation fuels by 2020. It instructed the California Environmental Protection Agency to work with other state agencies to develop a schedule to meet the 2020 target.  

Common alternative fuels include the following:

  • Biodiesel / Renewable Diesel
  • Electricity
  • Hydrogen Fuel
  • Methanol
  • E85
  • Liquefied Propane Gas (LPG)
  • Natural Gas (Compressed) (CNG)

The State Air Resources Board (ARB) has numerous incentive programs to encourage development of alternative fuels and vehicles.

BIODIESEL

Biodiesel is an alternative fuel produced from renewable resources, such as soybeans or used restaurant grease. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in diesel engines with no major modifications.

COMPRESSED NATURAL GAS (CNG)

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is a gasoline and diesel fuel alternative consisting primarily of methane. The gas is extracted from the source and compressed to a high pressure where it can be stored in a vehicle fuel tank.

ETHANOL/E85

E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline that is an alternative fuel for automobiles, and is used in flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs). The actual ethanol content of E85 can vary depending upon the month of the year and geographical location, and may be as little as 70 percent ethanol.

HYDROGEN

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are zero emission and run on compressed hydrogen that produces electricity to power the vehicle. A fuel cell can be used in combination with an electric motor to drive a vehicle.

CARB Hydrogen Program 

LPG/PROPANE

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), or propane, is a flammable mixture of propane and butane. LPG is typically obtained through the refinement process of petroleum products. LPG will evaporate and therefore is stored in pressurized steel tanks.

PLUG-IN ELECTRIC VEHICLES (PEVS)

There are two types of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) – battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). BEVs run on electricity stored in batteries and have an electric motor rather than a gasoline engine. PHEVs have a battery pack that is recharged by plugging into a source of electricity (wall outlet, solar panels) as well as an internal combustion engine that is refueled with gasoline.

Southern California PEV Readiness Plan
Southern California PEV Atlas

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

CARB Alternative Fuels Program
Alternative Fueling Stations in the United States