On Value, and Values: Fairness, the Disadvantaged, and California’s Renewables Policy
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) … The particulars are the subject of a white paper from a team at Propel Fuels — Rob Elam, Will Faulkner, Chris LaPlante, Parker Chase — and available here.
Un-Penalizing the Poor
The topics include regressive taxes that penalize the poor, non-inclusion of the disadvantaged, and hand-outs aimed at wealthy elites.
The quartet writes:
Through the flagship Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, Californians have received $448 million in state rebates for purchases of EVs (hybrids too), with a very large portion going to the wealthiest Californians…the trickledown effects hoped for have not materialized as residents of low-income, high-pollution neighborhoods, otherwise known as Disadvantaged Communities, do not purchase EVs. Even though California’s Disadvantaged Communities suffer the worst air quality in the entire nation, they are the group most likely to vote for the complete repeal of AB 32, due to the inequity of “carbonomics” policy design – an unfortunate, rational choice for short term economic relief at the expense of long term health.
How might this outcome be avoided? Low-carbon fuels provide one solution…[they] are not a premium product that only wealthy, coastal elites can buy today; they are affordable to mainstream populations, including middle- and low-income individuals of all races and age groups. It is inherently progressive, providing relief and inclusion for the state’s most vulnerable citizens, rather than regressive energy taxes and a promise of brighter, cleaner, affordable future.”
Progression, inclusion, relief. Terms that we might consider to be bundled up in the general subject of fairness, and the allocation of burden.
The debate over energy, or security in the Far East, will come down to the “how much” and “who” of the burden and the price — and, in the case of energy, the Propel team is focusing more attention on that “who”. From fairness flows policy endurance, from endurance flows stability, and from stability flows the technologies that feed transformation. So let us talk about the “who” as well as the “how much”. READ MORE
The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to unlocking value via California low-carbon policy (Biofuels Digest/Propel Fuels)
Excerpt from Propel Fuels: “Our research shows that the LCFS is important, growing fast and needs to be implemented equitably to succeed. But if equity and fairness are goals of California’s carbon policies, they must be incenting what is working, and that is low carbon fuels and vehicles,” said Rob Elam, CEO of Propel Fuels. “California should mandate that every vehicle sold in state be low carbon fuel compatible such as Flex Fuel and high efficiency diesels, along with EV and hydrogen offerings.”
Low-carbon fuels need to make up 25+% market share to achieve the 2020 goal and even more for 2030 (more than double to roughly 5 billion gallons). Every new vehicle sold in California needs to be low-CI compatible including Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV) and high-efficiency diesel. READ MORE