RFA issues letter in support of Washington Clean Fuels Standard

By Erin Voegele | March 19, 2019

On March 15, the Renewable Fuels Association sent a letter to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and leaders of the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee in support of recently introduced legislation that aims to establish a Clean Fuels Standard in the state.

The bill, HB 1110, was introduced by state Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon in January. The state’s House voted 53 to 43 in favor of the legislation on March 12. The bill is now under consideration in the Senate. The Senate Committee on Environment, Energy and Technology held a public hearing on the measure March 19.

The bill directs the Washington State Department of Ecology to adopt a rule establishing a Clean Fuels Program that would limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emission per unit of transportation fuel energy to 10 below 2017 levels by 2028 and 20 percent below 2017 levels by 2035.

In its letter, the RFA said “a science-based, well-designed standard can drive technological innovation, stimulate investment in clean energy, reduce climate change emissions from the transportation sector, and decrease fossil fuel consumption.”

“A Clean Fuel Standard in Washington will be critical in providing consumer choice, offering domestic fuels, and spurring innovations in transportation fuels,” the letter continued. “RFA believes that renewable fuel, especially ethanol, can further decarbonize passenger cars and light-duty trucks today. Already, ethanol is responsible for reducing climate change emissions from the nation’s transportation by more than 40 million metric tons annually.”

Within the letter, the RFA stresses that today’s ethanol reduces GHG emissions by an average of 35-45 percent when compared to petroleum fuels—and is on a technological curve to be carbon negative.

The letter also briefly discusses Low Carbon Fuel Standards that have been established in Oregon and California, noting that those programs have encouraged lower carbon intensity (CI) fuels, and that ethanol’s average CI score has dropped by 21 percent since LCFS inception. In both states, the RFA said the LCFS has driven growth of E85, which boasts up to a 66 percent reduction in CI per mile over gasoline. The letter states that Washington’s Clean Fuels Standard would drive new business investment from renewable fuel companies by incentivizing technological innovations that continue to reduce the CI of ethanol.

“The passage of HB 1110 would lead to an increasingly diverse fuel supply, thus creating competition, encouraging innovation and developing greater market opportunities,” the RFA said in its letter. “We encourage support of HB 1110 to secure these economic opportunities in the Pacific Northwest.”