Research Lead: Colin Murphy (lead), Julie Witcover, Jin Wook Ro, and Pedro Liedo Orozco
UC Campus(es): UC Davis
Problem Statement: California’s move toward a carbon-neutral transportation system will require a rapid, coordinated transformation of the fuel systems that support it. The University of California Institute of Transportation’s 2021 report, “Driving California’s Transportation Emissions to Zero,” found that a carbon-neutral transportation system in California will require hundreds of millions to billions of gallons of low-carbon liquid fuels per year. Because the transportation fuel market crosses many critical sectors – including petroleum, electricity and natural gas utilities, agriculture, biotechnology, and public transit – this large-scale transformation will have significant, far-reaching impacts. Effective, timely, evidence-based modeling is required to fully understand these impacts, avoid unintended consequences, and inform policy changes that must occur for the state to meet its goal.
Project Description: The research team will update the fuel scenario model used in the “Driving California’s Transportation Emissions to Zero” with new and better data and will study policy changes and challenges likely to emerge in the next ten years. Key issues that this project will study include: (1) equity-enhancing policy protocols under the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, (2) creation of equity-focused charging credit aggregators, (3) limits on the credit generation ability of fuels known to result in environmental justice issues under some circumstances (e.g., Renewable Natural Gas from dairy farms); (4) potential protocols for including farm-level effects, including soil carbon changes, in fuel carbon intensity assessments, and (5) effects of rapid growth in light duty electric vehicle credits in LCFS programs in the mid-late 2030s.
Status: In Progress