Considering A Regional Clean Fuel Standard

Traffic on I-5

Transportation is the number one source of air and climate pollution in the Puget Sound region – over 13 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has set a target of reducing climate pollution by 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, and is considering adopting a regional Clean Fuel Standard to help meet that target. A Clean Fuel Standard will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels using a flexible market-based approach that supports innovation.

The Agency is now moving forward with a formal rulemaking process with the intent of having a final rule for the Agency's Board of Directors to decide on by the end of 2019. A public comment period for a draft rule will likely take place in fall of 2019.

Over the next few months, the Agency will also complete an analysis that will characterize all transportation fuel entering, distributed, and produced within the four-county region, and identify all current and potential alternative fuel feedstocks within Washington.

Based on this information, the Agency will develop scenarios with multiple fuel pathways for a potential Clean Fuel Standard within the four-county region.

Public Involvement

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency wants to hear from interested parties with any questions about a potential regional Clean Fuel Standard. 

Questions or Feedback

Contact us at


Sign up here to receive email updates from the Agency on a potential Clean Fuel Standard.

If you or your organization would like to receive an in-person presentation on the basics of a Clean Fuel Standard, how it works, and potential results for the Puget Sound region, contact us at

Previous Public Involvement 


Tuesday, November 13, 2018 | 10 - 11 a.m.
View the webinar recording here.

Public Information Session

Thursday, November 15, 2018 | 5:30 - 8 p.m.
Mayflower Park Hotel, Plymouth Room
405 Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98101

Public Input Summary - December 2018

Benefits of a Clean Fuel Standard

A Clean Fuel Standard is an investment to protect our future:

  • Provides high certainty of reducing transportation pollution.
  • Allows flexibility – the market determines which fuels best achieve emissions reductions.
  • Incentivizes fuel producers to make fuels cleaner.
  • Keeps more money spent on transportation within Washington.
  • Improves public health and reduces cancer risk, especially in communities that are near major highways and freeways.
  • Supports the growth of biofuels and electricity as transportation fuels. Both biofuels and electricity can be made in-state – creating jobs and increasing energy security.

How a Clean Fuel Standard Works

A Clean Fuel Standard is a market-based approach to making our transportation system cleaner.

  • Our region sets goals for reducing transportation pollution by a certain amount over time. A target annual carbon intensity of fuel is established that will meet the reduction goal.
  • Each type of transportation fuel is measured by its life-cycle carbon intensity. Carbon intensity is the amount of greenhouse gas pollution created per unit of fuel energy – from production to transport to tailpipe emissions.
  • Credits are assigned to each fuel type and pathway based on its life-cycle carbon intensity.
  • To meet the target, petroleum refiners and importers can either blend low-carbon biofuels into the fuel they sell, buy credits generated by low-carbon fuel producers and users, or both.
  • Credits are generated by fuels that are below the target, such as biofuels and electricity. Manufacturers and distributors can sell or trade these credits to reduce the cost of the lower carbon fuel, enhance technology, or build new facilities, such as electric vehicle charging infrastructure.


Joining the Rest of the West Coast

A Clean Fuel Standard is an opportunity to create a clean West Coast Highway and address our region’s contribution to climate change. California, Oregon, and British Columbia have established Clean Fuel Standards to reduce transportation emissions and are already seeing success. California has exceeded initial carbon reduction targets and the use of alternative fuels, such as corn ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel, renewable natural gas, and electric vehicles, has surpassed expectations. 

Aligning with California, Oregon, and British Columbia will only strengthen low-carbon fuel markets and boost the future success of clean transportation policies.

Changes and Economic Impacts to Expect

A Clean Fuel Standard will likely create changes and impacts to our region’s economy:

  • Increases market value of low-carbon fuels.
  • Increases in-state production of clean fuels, which could increase in-state agriculture.
  • Increases effort to capture landfill and agricultural/manure gas.
  • Ensures petroleum fuel prices reflect the full costs of the air pollution and health effects they cause. While this can increase costs, other states have put mechanisms in place to control fuel price impacts.
  • Reduces imported fossil fuels, keeping fuel spending in-state.

More Information

Considering A Clean Fuel Standard For The Puget Sound Region -- Fact Sheet (PDF)

A Clean Fuel Standard: A Potential Way To Reduce Pollution & Invest In Our Future -- 5-Page Handout (PDF)

CleanFuelStandard_Handout Web_Page_1

For questions about a potential Clean Fuel Standard, please contact Linda Lyshall at or 206-689-4028.