If sunset lifts, Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program could bring heavy investments
By Spencer Richley, Clean Energy Fuels
Spencer Richley is a policy and regulatory associate with Clean Energy Fuels.
Time is running out for the Oregon Legislature to lift the sunset on the Clean Fuels Program, a practical program that would greatly benefit Oregon consumers’ pocketbooks by boosting development of less-expensive transportation fuels.
The program is modeled on California’s successful low carbon fuel standard, which requires oil companies to reduce the carbon content of the overall mix of fuel they sell by 10 percent within a decade. How they choose to do so is up to them. They can improve their own operations, blend biofuels, or purchase investment credits for such low-carbon fuels as electricity, natural gas, hydrogen, propane and more.
Since California enacted its low carbon fuel standard, Clean Energy — the largest purveyor of natural gas as a vehicle fuel in the nation — has grown from about 270 to nearly 1,000 employees in California as we’ve built new fueling infrastructure for California’s nearly 37,000 natural gas-powered vehicles.
We’re not alone. Virtually every type of alternative fuel is investing heavily in California because it has become an attractive place for investment due to the low carbon fuel standard.
Clean Energy is eager to invest in Oregon, as well. But the sunset creates regulatory uncertainty and makes us wary to invest beyond our two existing fueling stations that will soon be open to the public in Oregon in Stanfield and Central Point. Lifting the sunset will guarantee more investment in Oregon.
Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program is arguably more protective of the consumer than California’s program because Oregon’s version includes consumer protections that suspend the program if fuel prices rise due to a lack of low carbon fuel production. The reality is that nearly all fuel alternatives, especially natural gas, are cheaper than gasoline and diesel at today’s prices and the introduction of alternatives fuels should ease pressure on gasoline and diesel demand, leading to cost savings to consumers.
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