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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Air Quality

Oregon Clean Fuels Program

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Background Questions

What is carbon intensity?
Carbon intensity is lifecycle emissions (sometimes called “well-to-wheels”) and refers to how much total pollution is generated in the production, transport, storage and use of a fuel in a vehicle.

Clean Fuels Well to wheels

This includes the pollution created from extraction of crude oil or from growing and harvesting crops for biofuels.

Clean Fuels crop to biofuels

What are "Clean Fuels?"
"Clean fuels" are fuels that have a lower carbon intensity than the standard for the fuel it replaces. Examples of clean fuels include most types of ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas, biogas, electricity, propane and hydrogen.

Clean Fuels examples

Is there enough commercially-available clean fuels to meet the 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity of Oregon’s fuels by 2025?
The 2014 ICF study concluded there is enough lower-carbon fuel to meet the Oregon standards in 2025. The 2015 ICCT study also shows that lower-carbon fuels can reduce the carbon intensity of the entire Pacific Coast region up to 21 percent by 2030. Each study shows that reductions are achievable through multiple scenarios.

What happens if there isn’t enough clean fuels?
Not every assumption must be met for the program to work, as importers have flexibility for compliance. Importers can choose between alternatives based on what works best for them and what’s least expensive. But if multiple assumptions are not met and supplies of lower-carbon fuels are lower than what is needed to comply, then the current rule authorizes the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission to suspend or modify the Clean Fuel Program requirements.

Will the Clean Fuels Program affect fuel prices?
All clean fuels are cheaper than the gasoline or diesel they replace. Considerations must also be made for the additional costs of infrastructure investment or vehicle purchases that might be needed. In conducting its fiscal and economic analysis, DEQ used studies from Washington and California that indicated the potential for a four to 19 cent-per-gallon increase in the last year of the program. With the new authority language contained in SB 324, DEQ can develop new ways to monitor and manage the availability of credits and credit prices to be more effective in containing the program’s costs.

Will the program mandate 15 percent ethanol (E15) in gasoline?
No. By statute, gasoline in Oregon cannot contain more than 10 percent ethanol.

Will clean fuels work in my old engine? Will my engine be able to maintain its warranty?
The most critical factor in whether a fuel will work in an old engine is how much ethanol is blended with gasoline. The vast majority of cars are warrantied to 10 percent ethanol blends. The Oregon Renewable Fuel Standard was adopted in 2005 and set the blending levels at 10 percent ethanol (E10) and five percent biodiesel (B5). The Clean Fuels Program will not change that. It might change the type of ethanol or biodiesel to types that are lower-carbon, but it will not change the blending levels.

For more information on this program, call 503.229.5388 or email Oregon Clean Fuels.

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For more information about Air Quality call 503-229-5359 or email.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 811 SW Sixth Ave., Portland, OR 97204-1390
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service: 1-800-735-2900  FAX: 503-229-6124

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a regulatory agency authorized to protect Oregon's environment by
the State of Oregon and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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