LOS ANGELES—Here in the land of perpetually jammed freeways, filling up downtown sets you back $5.09 a gallon. While the national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.36, you’d be hard pressed to find anything cheaper than $4 in L.A.
Californians are used to paying some of the highest energy prices in the country, especially in this sprawling city. Not coincidentally, they’re also living in the state most committed to combatting climate change, slashing fossil-fuel consumption, and ramping up renewable energy.
There appear to be some cracks in the organization’s armor. Fueling California’s board of directors once included representatives from United Airlines, Walmart, UPS, Chevron and others. But Fueling California’s website no longer lists the board of directors at all, and Walmart confirmed it is no longer involved.
The project was led by Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The study estimated that the black carbon reductions from air regulations also reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 21 million metric tons annually. That’s equivalent to removing more than 4 million cars from California’s roads every year.
For close to a year, the companies that provide California with gasoline and diesel have warned that the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard is infeasible. A failure to recognize the implications of this warning risks potential fuel shortages and market disruptions in a few short years.
In response to these concerns, supporters of the standard argue the only thing making this regulation infeasible is the refusal of oil companies to invest sufficient dollars in the emerging fuels and technologies needed to make it work. This view was expressed with great clarity recently by venture capitalist Vinod Khosla who, perhaps inadvertently offered a compelling explanation why the low carbon standard cannot succeed.