October 27, 2020. At its NGV20 Annual Industry Summit last week, NGVAmerica released the results of a multi-month study of public transportation subsidy programs in the States of Texas and California, and the results are quite striking.
Over a fifteen-year time period from 2005 to 2019, the State of Texas spent $561 million in public resources to assist in the transition to cleaner vehicle technologies. During the same time period, the State of California spent $816 million or 46 percent more. However, in terms of reducing harmful criteria pollutants to improve air quality, California achieved only a 35,229-ton reduction in NOx emissions despite its increased investment while Texas tallied reductions of 61,610 tons of NOx. Effectively, California regulators spent 46 percent more public money while accomplishing 43 percent less than Texas.
“This analysis presents a stark reality for state and federal policymakers to consider,” said NGVAmerica President Dan Gage. “Compared to California’s ZEV-only focus, the Texas approach results in less money spent, deploys more clean heavy-duty trucks and buses on the road, and achieves greater emissions reductions. The public is best served if state and federal regulators concentrate less on imposing single technology purchases and more on establishing realistic emissions reduction goals while allowing fleets the flexibility to choose the powertrain technology that best meets their needs.”
In completing its analysis, NGVAmerica collected data from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TXCEQ) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and California Energy Commission (CEC). California focused its funding on medium- and heavy-duty battery electric vehicle test projects. In contrast, Texas focused on replacing older, dirtier medium- and heavy-duty diesel trucks with newer, cleaner, CNG, LNG, LPG diesel, and diesel hybrid alternatives. Overall, Texas spent 31 percent less money on more heavy-duty vehicles and reduced 75 percent more harmful NOx emissions than California.
Since 2000, Texas has reduced its NOx emissions by 69 percent while its total population has increased by 35 percent. Meanwhile, from 2006 to 2013, California reported annual NOx emissions of 160,000 tons per year. Since that time – and despite its increased Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV)-focused investment – California’s annual emissions have increased to about 175,000 tons per year.
Texas continues its clean air achievement by supporting vehicle choice and an “all of the above” approach to alternative fuel vehicle technologies. As Texas begins to add renewable natural gas (RNG) to its natural gas vehicle investments, Texas is creating actual carbon-free fleet solutions today.
While supportive of increased RNG production capacity, California is moving to limit the best use of this captured biomethane – as a transportation fuel – by supporting only ZEV purchases that require massive amounts of public funding to subsidize.
NGVs fueled with RNG are the most immediate and cost-effective carbon-free transportation solution available now. According to CARB’s own data, RNG holds the lowest carbon intensity of any on-road vehicle fuel, including fully renewable electric.
“Now more than ever, communities need affordable, available, and easily scalable clean transportation solutions that address pollution while ensuring that public funding is put to its best use,” added Gage. “Natural gas vehicles fueled by RNG is the best carbon-free, zero now solution.”