Bio-CNG-fueled fleets in California (U.S.) achieved carbon-negativity for fourth straight year

The Transport Project (TTP) and Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition) – with partner California Renewable Transportation Alliance – announced that California fleets fueled with bio-CNG achieved carbon-negativity in their transportation operations last calendar year for the fourth straight year. 

Renewable natural gas (RNG) accounted for 97% of all on-road fuel used in natural gas vehicles in California in 2023. According to data from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) the annual average carbon intensity score of bio-CNG in that mix was -126.42 gCO2e/MJ. 

In fact, bio-CNG holds the lowest average carbon intensity of any clean fuel option on California’s roadways today and is the only fuel producing a negative carbon intensity fleet outcome in the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) Program, which includes ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel, bio-CNG, bio-LNG, electricity, alternative jet fuel, and hydrogen. 

Even more, while RNG made up just 5.1% of all on-road alternative fuels dispensed by volume, it generated 19.2% of all carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emission reductions of on-road alternative fuels reported under the California LCFS in 2023. 

Captured above ground from organic material in agricultural, wastewater, landfill, or food waste, RNG can produce carbon-negative results when fueling on-road vehicles like short- and long-haul trucks, transit buses, and refuse and recycling collection vehicles. 

“When used as a transportation fuel, RNG displaces gasoline and diesel in applications that are difficult – if not virtually impossible – to electrify,” said Daniel Gage, President of The Transport Project. “California’s commercial fleets deploying trucks fueled by RNG are achieving a cost effective, carbon-negative transportation outcome today without compromising existing business operations.”

TTP and RNG Coalition report that in 2023 a total of 209.9 million gallons (DGE) of natural gas were used as motor fuel in the state. Of that, 203.10 million gallons (DGE) were from renewable sources.

“RNG facilities address methane emissions from society’s inevitable waste streams, mitigate the environmental impacts of those emissions and convert captured methane into domestic, renewable, clean fuel and energy,” said Johannes Escudero, Founder & CEO of RNG Coalition. “These numbers highlight the critical role that RNG plays in decarbonizing the transportation sector today.” 

In addition to their negative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, ultra-low NOx medium- and heavy-duty RNG-fueled trucks and buses perform at levels that are 90% below the federal nitrogen oxide (NOx) standard and 90% below the federal particulate matter (PM 2.5) standard. NGVs virtually eliminate criteria pollutant emissions that contribute to asthma, heart disease, and poor air quality.

Aggressive goals to decarbonized transportation over the next decade will only be achieved by prioritizing the transition of heavy-polluting, high mileage commercial fleets to cost-effective carbon-negative solutions like RNG fueled trucks. These trucks are commercially available now, accruing and compounding significant clean air and carbon reductions today.

Unlike developing heavy-duty ZEV options including battery electric and hydrogen, RNG-fueled trucks and buses have access to an established California public fueling infrastructure and a mature network of servicers and suppliers. RNG trucks are affordable and scalable, meeting range and operations requirements for any commercial medium- and heavy-duty application. And RNG fueled trucks and buses do not rely on components sourced and controlled overseas. 

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