June 3, 2021. Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica) and Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition) announced that California fleets fueled with bio-CNG achieved carbon-negativity for calendar year 2020.

Ninety-two (92) percent of all on-road fuel used in natural gas vehicles in California last year was renewable natural gas (RNG). According to data from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) the annual average carbon intensity score of bio-CNG in that mix was -5.845 gCO2e/MJ.

Moreover, the carbon intensity of California’s bio-CNG continues to drop. Data from Q4 2020 puts the carbon intensity average of bio-CNG at -26.11 gCO2e/MJ, down from -0.85 in Q2 and -17.95 in Q3.

“For the first time ever, California fleets fueled with bio-CNG achieved carbon-negativity in their 2020 transportation operations,” said NGVAmerica President Dan Gage. “This verified data means their trucks and buses leave a zero-carbon footprint while virtually eliminating criteria pollutant emissions that contribute to asthma, heart disease, and poor air quality.”

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 95 percent below the federal nitrogen oxide (NOx) standard and 98 percent below the federal particulate matter (PM 2.5) standard.

“These numbers highlight the essential role RNG plays in achieving carbon neutrality,” stated Johannes Escudero, Founder & CEO of RNG Coalition. “RNG is a unique renewable energy source as it addresses the problem of waste management while mitigating climate challenges.”

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.

RNG use as a transportation fuel in California grew 177 percent over the last five years. NGVAmerica and RNG Coalition report that in 2020 a total of 164.8 million gallons (DGE) of natural gas were used as motor fuel in the state. Of that, 152.4 million gallons (DGE) were from renewable sources.

RNG use as a motor fuel in California in 2020 displaced 1.83 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Put into perspective, California RNG motor fuel use last year:

  • Lowered greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to removing the GHG from nearly 4.6 billion miles driven by the average passenger car.
  • Eliminated CO2 emissions, equivalent to removing CO2 emissions from 205.7 million gallons of gasoline consumed or the energy use of 220,118 California homes in one year; and
  • Sequestered carbon, equal to growing close to 30.2 million tree seedlings for ten years, or 2.24 million acres of U.S. forests for one year.

The Biden administration has set a very aggressive decarbonization goal over the next decade. That target of a 50 to 52 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 will only be achieved by deploying more cost-effective carbon-negative solutions like RNG trucks that are commercially available now, accruing and compounding significant clean air and carbon reductions today.