California's low-carbon fuel standard has oil companies anxious

Sacramento BeeApril 25, 2009 

In car-crazy California, a new fuel standard ordered by state officials to curb greenhouse gases could dramatically change how vehicles run.

It also could have a huge effect on cost.

The petroleum industry and some economists say the new standard adopted by the state Air Resources Board on Thursday will cost motorists billions, because blending gasoline will become considerably more complicated.

But state officials and environmentalists say the "low-carbon fuel standard" will actually save Californians money by reducing oil consumption and ushering in a competitive new era of biofuels and electric vehicles.

The stakes are enormous. The price of fuel can have a significant impact on the state's economic health. When gas hit $4.50 last summer, it severely hurt tourism and caused delivery companies to impose fuel surcharges.

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