Los Angeles Times: California, federal methods to push renewable-fuel use stir conflict

August 29, 2013

Evan Halper, August 27 – WASHINGTON — California and the federal government want drivers to use more renewable fuels in their cars and trucks. That's where the trouble lies.

The state and federal governments share a goal, but have adopted very different ways to reach it. The resulting conflict has contributed to a snarl that reaches from fuel pumps in Los Angeles to sugar cane fields in Brazil.

Along the way, the dispute has divided environmental groups and the oil industry, pitting allies against each other.

It's even possible that the conflicting policies, both aimed at reducing global warming, could actually make things worse, some scientists said.

“There is the possibility of some very strange, very dramatic things happening,” said Jeremy Martin, senior scientist in the Clean Vehicles Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

What affect, if any, the disagreements will have on prices at the pump remains unclear.

Sacramento in 2007 set a ceiling on the amount of carbon dioxide and other gases that vehicles statewide can emit. The goal was to lower the ceiling gradually, leaving refiners to decide how best to reduce the carbon content of their fuels.