California, the most populous US state, should require the usage of alternative fuels to reduce petroleum consumption by 33% by 2020, a group backed by officials from DaimlerChrysler AG, Pacific Ethanol Inc. And others said.
The state should reduce projected 2020 gasoline demand of 23 billion gallons by 7.6 billion gallons, said the group, the California Secure Transportation Energy Partnership, which is also backed by officials such as former US Secretary of State George Schultz. Along with requiring that 20% of all fuel come from sources other than oil, the state should also implement a fee that would set a floor on gasoline prices to encourage investments in more efficient vehicles, the group said. California also should promote regional planning that reduces the need for driving. „The solutions that can make a difference are here today and ready to go, and their increased use can inoculate and grow California's economy while buffering the state against the negative consequences associated with an excessive reliance on oil,” the group said in the report. Reducing demand for gasoline in 2020 to 15.4 billion gallons from a projected 23 billion gallons would put California 15% below the 2003 consumption level of 18.1 billion gallons.
The state needs to curb its reliance on gasoline to reduce global warming pollution and shield its economy from swings in oil prices and disruptions in supplies, the group said. State action is needed in absence of more aggressive federal actions to curb oil consumption, the group added. California is home to more than 37.4 million people, according to the state finance department. Requiring that 20% of transportation fuel come from alternatives such as ethanol or natural gas will reduce demand for gasoline by 2.9 billion gallons, the group said. The fee on gasoline would create demand for more efficient vehicles by keeping fuel prices high, cutting consumption by another 2.9 billion gallons, the group said. The fee, a maximum of $1.20 per gallon, would kick in when prices drop below $2 gallon and would be returned entirely to consumers through rebates. Regional planning that promotes mass transit, reduces sprawl and encourages people to live near their workplaces would reduce gasoline demand by another 1.8 billion gallons. Traffic congestion currently costs $17 billion annually and wastes 665 million gallons of gasoline, the group said. The group also endorsed state grants for developing alternative fuel filling stations, for research on alternative fuel production and for the commercialization of more efficient vehicles. (Bloomberg)