Considering A Regional Clean Fuel Standard

Traffic on I-5

Transportation is the primary source of climate pollution in the Puget Sound region – over 40 percent of the Puget Sound region’s greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution.

In 2017, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s Board of Directors adopted a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas 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 would reduce greenhouse gas pollution from transportation to address climate change and protect human health. The standard would apply to transportation fuels supplied or sold in the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s jurisdiction -- King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. 

Rulemaking Process

Rulemaking Update

As of April 6, 2020, the Agency is suspending any action by the Board of Directors on the Agency’s draft Clean Fuel Standard.

If relevant state legislation is enacted or there is a clarification of the Washington State Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Clean Air Rule, the Agency will evaluate the implications of those developments on a draft rule.

The Agency drafted a rule for the Agency’s Board of Directors to consider for action in early 2020. 


  • October 9, 2019: Release of a draft Clean Fuel Standard rule and the start of the public comment period.
  • February 10, 2020: The close of the extended public comment period (previously was January 6, 2020).
  • First Quarter 2020: The Agency will consider all comments received during the public comment period. A high-level summary of comments received, as well as a list of organizations and governments in support or opposition, was provided at the February joint Board of Directors and Advisory Council meeting


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Draft Rule

Rule Summary 
Draft Rule
Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) - Environmental Checklist (October 8, 2019)
Determination of Nonsignificance (October 8, 2019)
Determination of Nonsignificance - Revised to extend public comment period (January 7, 2020)
CR-102 (October 8, 2019)
Technical Analysis (September 2019)
Technical Analysis Appendices (November 2019)

Technical Analysis

The Agency contracted with ICF to assess the availability of clean transportation fuels and to conduct an analysis of the air quality, health, and economic impacts of a regional Clean Fuel Standard.

The key findings from the analysis include:

  • A Clean Fuel Standard can significantly reduce the Puget Sound region’s GHG pollution – up to a 26% reduction in carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 2030.
  • A Clean Fuel Standard will improve air quality and public health, especially in communities near major roadways.
  • A Clean Fuel Standard is consistent with the region’s economic growth. Any changes to economic productivity and employment are estimated to be very small (plus or minus one tenth of one percent in 2030).

Two-Page Analysis Summary
Executive Summary
Full Analysis

Additional Information

Note: The public comment period was extended to February 10, 2020 (previously was January 6, 2020).
What’s in the Agency’s draft Clean Fuel Standard rule? – Joel Creswell, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency [10 minutes]
How Carbon Intensity Works with a Clean Fuel Standard – Julie Witcover, Ph.D., UC Davis [13 minutes]
Why a Clean Fuel Standard is Necessary to Fight Climate Change – Colin Murphy, Ph.D., UC Davis [11 minutes]
An Overview of Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program – Cory-Ann Wind, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality [8 minutes]
California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard – Jim Duffy, California Air Resources Board [9 minutes]

Clean Fuel Standard fact sheet

What is a Clean Fuel Standard?

A Clean Fuel Standard reduces greenhouse gas pollution from transportation through a system of deficit and credit trading that requires transportation fuels to become cleaner over time.

Who else has a Clean Fuel Standard?

California, Oregon, and British Columbia have established Clean Fuel Standards to reduce transportation pollution and are already seeing success. 

  • California began their Low Carbon Fuel Standard in 2011. The state reduced over 11 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 alone. 
  • Oregon has reduced over 2.9 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector since 2016. 
  • British Columbia has avoided over eight million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions since 2010. 

What is carbon intensity?

Carbon intensity is the amount of total carbon generated from the type of fuel used. It includes direct and indirect effects, such as land use changes that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and includes the complete life-cycle of the fuel pathway (often called "wells to wheels") from production to transportation to use. 

Carbon intensity is a way to measure and compare different fuels' impact on climate change.

Previous Public Involvement 

Public Comment Period (October 9, 2019 - February 10, 2020)

Public Hearings

Thursday, December 19, 2019 | 12:30 - 4:30 p.m., 5 - 8 p.m.
Washington State Convention Center, Room 2AB
705 Pike Street, Seattle, WA 98101

Thursday, January 30, 2020 | 4 - 7 p.m.
Everett Public Library - Main Branch Auditorium
2702 Hoyt Avenue, Everett, WA 98201

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 | 4 - 7 p.m.
Kitsap Conference Center Ballroom
100 Washington Avenue, Bremerton, WA 98337

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 | 4 - 7 p.m.
Tacoma Public Library - Main Branch, Olympia Room
1102 Tacoma Avenue South, Tacoma, WA 98402

Public Information Session 

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

In-person 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