EU, California announces first ever fuel standards

the European Union (eu) and the us state of California recently announced the first-ever fuel standards to regulate greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions.

On January 9, 2007, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an executive order to establish the world's first low carbon fuel standard, which requires that by 2020 the state must achieve a minimum reduction of 10 per cent in ghg emissions produced by fuels during manufacture, transportation and combustion. The standard, expected to come into force from 2010, is applicable to refineries and blenders. The state estimates that the move will be equivalent to removing 3 million cars from the road. It is also expected to cut petrol consumption by 20 per cent.

eu, in a similar announcement on January 31, said fuel suppliers will have to reduce ghg emissions per unit of energy by 1 per cent a year from 2010 levels to achieve a 10 per cent cut by 2020. The standards, to come into force in 2011, will encourage development of lower-carbon fuels and biofuels. To enable a higher volume of biofuel to be used in petrol, a separate petrol blend will be established. The standards are expected to cut 500 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions by 2020.

eu has also set stringent standards for reducing particulate emissions. From 2008 onwards, the sulphur content in fuel will have to be 10 ppm (parts per million), which is stricter than the current us limit of 15 ppm.

Although the us's standards for emissions of air pollutants are tough, the country has been lax in controlling its ghg emissions.