How Fleets Can Approach Lower Carbon Targets
By now, most of us are well aware of climate change and the emphasis it places on reducing our collective carbon footprint. Activities around carbon reduction can't be ignored. Some may view this as a burden on fleet operations, administrative work or budgets, but here’s some background information to support that reaching your lower carbon targets doesn’t have to be difficult.
Policies Make Cents
California’s clean air program, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, may be the most well-known, but similar regulations are in place or in development across North America, and throughout the world. The speed at which these efforts are increasing means fleets and fuel marketers must pay attention, and be ready to adapt.
Many believe electric vehicles (EVs) are the fastest way to reach these targets. However, EVs may not be viable for long-haul trucking for quite some time. In addition, the technology has some cost implications, requiring new vehicles and dedicated charging infrastructure. The majority of electricity generating facilities are still fueled by coal and other fossil fuels, reducing the impact on decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The good news is that there are many existing drop-in fuel solutions that can help fleets reach these targets in a quick and affordable way, without waiting for electric. Biodiesel, renewable diesel and a blend of the two are quickly expanding their reach and influence as fleets and retailers realize their effectiveness at reducing carbon emissions.
The better news is that some of the states use various policies and programs to incentivize the production and use of biodiesel. The Iowa legislature passed a biofuels access bill in 2022 that doubled the incentive to produce biodiesel and expanded a sales tax incentive for biodiesel-including the first incentive for B30 in the nation. In Texas, a retailer doesn't have to pay a state tax on the amount of biodiesel that is blended with petroleum diesel. For example, if a consumer uses B20, they do not have to pay 20% of the sales tax on that transaction. What's more, retailers can pass savings on to their customers to encourage usage of lower carbon fuels and to do their part to reduce carbon emissions.
Companies Hold Influence
The private sector is also starting to understand the importance of environmental stewardship, and companies are setting carbon emission reduction goals of their own. Transportation plays a major role in supply chains and product delivery, and fleets provide a great opportunity for companies to demonstrate their commitment to this effort and make a difference immediately.
Companies know these changes can benefit their reputation in a world where consumers care more than ever about lower carbon initiatives, which in turn can lead to more customer support.
Many companies have created positions focused on this work, often with titles like “sustainability officer,” “manager of supply chain sustainability,” and the like. When fleets respond to RFPs, it’s important to tailor some details to this person and demonstrate the impact fuels can have on their carbon footprint.
Options Lead to Opportunity
When fleets need to meet environmental regulations and win business with strong lower carbon statistics, fuel options are critical. As noted above, biodiesel, renewable diesel and a blend of both are outstanding drop-in solutions for several reasons.
Biodiesel blends work in existing diesel vehicles without the need for major investments. Performance is strong, and the ability to reduce emissions can be significant. Biodiesel is made from a variety of feedstocks, which means it’s widely available. It can even be used alone (B100) with affordable vehicle modifications.
Renewable diesel is also good at reducing tailpipe emissions thanks to lower carbon feedstocks. The supply largely ends up on the West Coast right now, but ongoing policy expansion will help drive its growth across a broader geography.
One of the most exciting options on the market is blending biodiesel and renewable diesel together. We call this UltraClean BlenD™ and it’s one of the lowest carbon liquid fuels available. It’s the best of both worlds in terms of performance and carbon emissions reduction, and blending in biodiesel can stretch the renewable diesel supply.
The Time Is Now
Getting onboard with lower carbon targets doesn’t have to feel forced. Financial incentives, the opportunity to win new business, retain existing customers and the freedom of fuel choice should make you feel comfortable with — and actively interested in — the movement. If you have questions or are ready to make a fuel switch, please contact us today.
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