Fuel Smarts

California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard Upheld

September 19, 2013

By Evan Lockridge

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A three-judge federal panel on Wednesday upheld California’s controversial and first-in-the-nation law requiring fuel-makers to reduce carbon, that detractors say will lead to much higher prices for diesel and gasoline.

The 2-1 ruling over the low carbon fuel standard, by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, came as the judged rejected arguments by fuel producers that it was discriminatory against out-of-state fuel makers. It reverses a lower court ruling as well as killing an injunction that was stopping implementation of the law by the California Air Resources Board.

“"Unless and until either the United States Supreme Court or the Congress forbids it, California is entitled to proceed on the understanding that global warming is being induced by rising carbon emissions and attempt to change that trend," wrote Judge Ronald Gould in the majority opinion. "California, if it is to have any chance to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, must be able to consider all factors that cause those emissions when it assesses alternative fuels."

The American Fuel and Petrochemicals Manufacturers Association, which opposes the law, said it “will be evaluating its options regarding further court proceedings in upcoming weeks.”

“AFPM is disappointed by the decision of a divided panel of the 9th Circuit,” said AFPM President Charles Drevna. "The District Court (in an earlier ruling striking down the law) explained compellingly why the California low carbon fuel standard violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Although the LCFS is a California law, its broad reach and intended scope means that implementing the LCFS will have adverse consequences throughout the nation’s fuel refining facilities and supply chain far beyond California’s borders.”

In an email to the Associated Press, CARB spokesman, Dave Clegern said, "This is a very good step for Californians and the fight against climate change. We are pleased, on behalf of the people of California and its environment, that the Court recognized the importance of this program and that the [standard] remains in effect."

Several years ago, California lawmakers passed, and then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

The act, along with an executive order Schwarzenegger issued in 2007, aims to reduce emissions gradually in the state so the level of pollutants is no greater than the level in 1990. The moves also allow for the state's cap-and-trade program that was adopted by the California Air Resources Board.

Trucking interests say all this will hit their operations in the wallet any time truckers buy fuel in the Golden State, and that it will harm the state's economy, even before all this is fully implemented in 2020.

A study last year, conducted for the California Trucking Association by the legislative and regulatory consulting firm Stonebridge Associates, determined the LCFS and cap-and-trade could increase the price of diesel by $2.22 per gallon, resulting in a pump price of $6.69 per gallon and an average difference between California's diesel price and neighboring states of $2.33 per gallon.

The Oil Price Information Service has also said it will lead to higher prices by nearly as much as the CTA study claims. 

Early on the American Trucking Associations and other groups challenged the low-carbon fuel standard.


  1. 1. Jm Calder [ September 19, 2013 @ 08:07AM ]

    I'm a 2 truck trucking company moving out of the state . 2 trucks is not a lot but it is unsustainable and One small business at a time California. lawmakers are flushing the state down the toilet.

  2. 2. Dave [ September 19, 2013 @ 08:15AM ]

    Why and whom does the state of California think that they are so superior and above everyone else in the country. I am all for clean air water and such because I love the outdoors. California is has gone bankrupt from all of the groofy regulations and ahve caused numerous companies to go out of business. Everything can be good but look at the whole picture and do things in moderation. I feel carriers should all pull up to the state line kid there freight and tell them come get. Our industry gets beat up bad enough as it is.

  3. 3. steve [ September 19, 2013 @ 08:17AM ]

    At the rate California is going the people of that state will have to go to surrounding to get groceries

  4. 4. Rios trucking [ September 19, 2013 @ 08:27AM ]

    We the trucking industry we are taking the big hits with all this air pollution laws here in california as it is we are already struggling with fuel prices, high priced carb complaint trucks, particulate filters I won't be surprised that a lot of us will be in the bankruptcy side and the state of california as well

  5. 5. [email protected] [ September 19, 2013 @ 08:49AM ]

    My only question is why our industry keeps servicing California's transportation needs. Let them fend for themselves for a period of time. Maybe they will return from fantasy land and join us back in the real world.

  6. 6. Jolene [ September 19, 2013 @ 11:14AM ]

    Stop driving trucks into Ca and let the people who keep voting these idiots in and allowing the EPA and CARB to run the state feel the consequences of their decisions. Might be a good time for investors in Nevada and Arizona to buy some warehouses....

  7. 7. gale younger [ September 19, 2013 @ 01:44PM ]

    Smart folks in adjacent states will build cross border warehouse/docks just like we have for Mexico and Canada freight. Consumers in California will see sharp increases in prices for most everything.

  8. 8. Kratz Leatherman [ September 19, 2013 @ 01:46PM ]

    Someone should inform CA. that global warming is over & we're now in global cooling. Truckers should drive to the state line & drop their freight & let some poor ca. trucker paying $6.99 a gal for diesel move the freight. Watch Californians scream as everything goes through the roof.

  9. 9. kaly [ September 19, 2013 @ 02:55PM ]

    Politicians are so stupid....everything will be passed down to the consumer

  10. 10. Deny Dolman [ September 20, 2013 @ 05:50AM ]

    All out of state truck's need to say the hell with Ca. Then we need to stand up to the one's in DC all so

  11. 11. Teekay [ September 20, 2013 @ 07:17AM ]

    They are counting on raising funds to cover their deficit with cap and trade on carbon. California is sitting on one of the nation's largest reserve of oil and nat gas in the San Joaquin Valley. If they are really looking for prosperity to finally return to the state, their answer sits underground in the area around Riverside. But that would require them to drop the idea that companies are dying to do business in their state. How many have left for NV and AZ?

  12. 12. pat Fitzgerald [ September 20, 2013 @ 07:20AM ]

    call your gov. official everyday and raise hell in time they will get the idea do it our way or out you go

  13. 13. Shawn [ September 20, 2013 @ 08:27AM ]

    Every trucking company needs to stop doing business in the state for a few weeks. Let the freight pile up at the ports, let stores go empty, Let the cars run out of gas... then see who has the real power to make change for the better in CA.

  14. 14. sam [ September 20, 2013 @ 09:03AM ]

    dont let California change your businiess, change from California, there is a 49 states more .

  15. 15. jab8283 [ September 20, 2013 @ 10:32AM ]

    I don't know why California continues to use truckers as their personal punching bag. Go after the railroads who emit 1500% more emissions than trucking, and go after the construction industry who pollute even more. Bulldozers, backhoe's, excavators, roadgraders, cranes, amongst other types of like equipment use high sulfur #2 fuel oil just like the railroad does. Neither heavy equipment or railroad locomotives and other railroad machinery uses particulate filters, catalytic convertors, LSDF or any other emission reduction technology. The railroad says they don't pollute but when they take off from the front of my home, black smoke fills the air for miles. Same thing for construction equipment, black smoke pours from their exhaust stacks. My International truck is 12-years old and barely puffs between gears and the stack is still mostly clean. CARB / EPA, stop riding on truckers backs and go after the main source of pollution, railroads and construction. Oh yeah, and go after those millions of cars sitting at traffic lights stuck in traffic holding everybody up.

  16. 16. Ray Velasquez [ September 23, 2013 @ 07:19PM ]

    I've been doing alot of research on carb. What i
    don't understand is if a heavy duty truck came with its emissions label and it was set to california standards then why put a product (passive filter) that will only cause back pressure to your engine and could damage your engine. In addition, why didn't the state of California do their own testing on its own equipmet instead of us coming out with $13k -$17k out of our pocket. For example, the year of my engine is a 1998 cat 3406e with one million two hundred thousand miles, i went through the data logging and opacity testing because cat engines are known to be gross polluters my engine only put out 5% of the 40% the state allows. Now you tell me if my engine is a gross polluter.


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