Carbon Reduction Opportunities in the California Petroleum Industry

Issue Brief
October 15, 2013

Since the adoption of the first-in-the-nation Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in 2009, California continues to successfully reduce the carbon pollution of transportation fuels. The production and use of petroleum-based fuels are responsible for approximately half of the state’s entire carbon emissions.1 While the substitution of cleaner energy sources for crude oil, like advanced biofuels made from agricultural waste, is a key strategy to reduce carbon pollution, it is also important to employ technologies that can directly reduce the pollution generated from crude oil extraction and refining. A new report from Tetra Tech and NRDC, Carbon Reduction Opportunities in the California Petroleum Industry, looks at significant, concrete steps that the California oil industry can adopt today to curb its carbon emissions. These ready-to-deploy technologies could also go a long way to meeting the industry’s responsibility under the LCFS.

The LCFS is a major component of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, known as A.B. 32, and requires the oil industry and other fuel providers to reduce the carbon footprint of transportation fuels by 10 percent by 2020. As a performance-based standard, the LCFS allows industry flexibility to invest in the most cost-effective technologies to reduce carbon pollution from fuels.