Summary report on low-carbon fuel standards

Published: 2009.10.04

Anil Baral

This paper provides a summary overview of low carbon fuel-related standards in various stages of development and implementation worldwide. These standards represent an important step in curbing GHG emissions from the transportation sector, which contributes 13% of GHG emissions worldwide (Pew Center on Global Climate Change, 2004). There are five main low carbon fuel-related standards in existence or near to implementation in the US and Europe:

  • U.S. Federal Renewable Fuel Standard (US-RFS2)
  • California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (CA-LCFS)
  • European Renewable Energy Directive
  • European Fuel Quality Directive
  • UK Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO)

Canada is also pursuing standards similar to California’s LCFS. US-RFS2 and CA-LCFS have not been officially implemented yet. Although the underlying objective of the low carbon fuel-related standards in different countries and regions is the same (i.e., to diversify fuel sources and reduce GHG emissions), there are differences in GHG reduction targets and mechanisms for achieving the targets.