Judge Says “No” to New California Gas Standards

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U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence O’Neill (Fresno) ruled today (Dec. 29) that California’s proposed low-carbon fuel rules violated the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause by discriminating against crude oil and biofuels producers located outside California.  (For a good summary from NPR, click here.)  From the NPR report:

“Beginning this year, the standard has required petroleum refiners, companies that blend fuel and distributors to gradually increase the cleanliness of the fuel they sell in California.

The board previously had said the low-carbon mandate will reduce California’s dependence on petroleum by 20 percent and account for one-tenth of the state’s goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

The regulation does not mandate specific alternative fuels. Rather, it assigns a so-called carbon-intensity score to various fuels. All gasoline and diesel fuel sold in California must be 10 percent less carbon-intensive by 2020.”

For those who live outside the borders of our great state, California already requires a special blend of gasoline that pushes in-state prices about $0.40 per gallon above what the rest of the country pays.  So here’s a question.  If requiring out-of-state producers to meet this “green” regulation is unconstitutional, what about the original law requiring a special California gasoline blend?