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BOSTON -- Eleven eastern states agreed to create a new fuel standard that would reduce the region's carbon footprint and nudge the country away from its dependence on petroleum, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Low Carbon Fuel Standard would apply to the entire region, said Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles. Refiners would have to reduce the carbon content of their gasoline and diesel, the newspaper noted. Proponents hope to speed adoption of alternative fuels and clean vehicles in what would become a huge new market for such technology
In addition to Massachusetts, which led the effort, the agreement includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. The states are committed to crafting a standard by the end of 2009.
"Working together, the 11 states from Maine to Delaware will cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, spur the development of clean energy technologies like advanced bio-fuels and electric cars, and reduce our dependence on petroleum," Bowles said in a statement.
California was the first state in the nation to adopt a Low Carbon Fuel Standard. That 2007 executive order by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger requires a 10-percent cut in vehicle emissions by 2020.
"Like California, these other states are leading the way in recognizing that we must take action now to fight global warming," Schwarzenegger said in the report.
Transportation accounts for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and 40 percent in California, the newspaper reported. But elected officials have been reluctant to impose stiff "carbon taxes" on petroleum-based vehicle fuels or to dictate what alternative must be used instead.
Supporters of the new East Coast fuel standard hope it will spur innovation by allowing providers to decide the best way to meet the mandates.