RNG: A Proven Solution for Decarbonizing California’s Transportation Sector

The California Renewable Transportation Alliance (CRTA), in partnership with the Natural Gas Vehicles for America, the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, and the California Natural Gas Vehicle Partnership announced that California fleets fueled with bio-CNG achieved carbon-negativity in their transportation operations last calendar year for the third straight year.

This means that investments in trucks fueled by renewable natural gas (RNG) – which is made from organic material derived from agricultural, wastewater, landfill and food waste – are helping California decarbonize its transportation sector today by displacing diesel-powered trucks and reducing harmful greenhouse gases.

Consider the facts:

  • For the 3rd straight year, RNG dispensed in California as a transportation fuel is carbon negative. In 2022, it had an annual average carbon intensity score of -98.98 gCO2e/MJthe lowest carbon intensity of any clean fuel option on California roadways today. This data from the California Air Resources Board’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program confirms that bio-CNG remains the only net-zero carbon motor fuel in California’s alternative motor fuel portfolio, which includes ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel, bio-CNG, bio-LNG, electricity, alternative jet fuel, and hydrogen.
  • In 2022, RNG accounted for 97% of all on-road fuel used in natural gas vehicles in California. Of the 197.45 million gallons (diesel gallon equivalent or DGE) of natural gas used as motor fuel in California last year, 190.46 million gallons (DGE) was RNG. In addition to their negative greenhouse gas 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, virtually eliminating criteria pollutant emissions that contribute to asthma, heart disease, and poor air quality.
  • The use of RNG as a transportation fuel in California has grown 169 percent over the last five years. In 2022 alone, RNG use resulted in the displacement of 4.34 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is the equivalent of removing 965,796 gasoline-powered cars from California roadways in one year.

“There are many technology options for reducing greenhouse gases in commerical trucking,” said Nicole Rice, President of the California Renewable Transportation Alliance. “The problem is that some of them are still years in the making.  RNG has once again been proven to be an effective tool for combating climate change effects.  We should utilize it today to immediately achieve greater emission reductions in the medium- and heavy-duty transportation sector.  Not only is this good for the planet, but also for the people of California.”

Aggressive goals to decarbonized transportation over the next decade will only be achieved by prioritizing the transition of heavy-polluting, high mileage commercial fleets to cost-effective, carbon-negative solutions like RNG fueled trucks. These trucks are commercially available now, accruing and compounding significant clean air and carbon reductions today.

And, unlike other emerging technologies, RNG-fueled trucks and buses have access to an established California public fueling infrastructure and a mature network of servicers and suppliers. RNG trucks are affordable and scalable, meeting range and operations requirements for any commercial medium- and heavy-duty application. 

Check out the detailed report and joint media announcement for more information.