The Design and Economics of Low Carbon Fuel Standards

Gabriel E. Lade, Iowa State University
C.Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell, University of California, Davis


Low carbon fuel standards (LCFS) are increasingly common policy tools used to decrease emissions and increase the penetration of renewable energy technologies in the transportation sector. In this paper, we discuss important design elements of the policy, and provide a background on prominent policies that are currently enacted or proposed. The economics of an LCFS are presented using a simple conceptual model, and the economic literature on the policy is reviewed. Important opportunities to build on the extant literature are identified, including studying the role of low carbon fuel standards in spurring technical change, and the interaction of the policy with other federal and state transportation policies.