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
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
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.
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 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.
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.