Driving Progress, Fueling Savings

How California Is Tackling Global Warming, Cutting Oil Use, and Saving Drivers Money

Published Sep 25, 2014


Cars, trucks, and other forms of transportation are the single largest source of California’s global warming pollution. To address this—and help mitigate the other negative costs of oil use, such as air pollution and gas prices—California enacted the forward-looking "Assembly Bill 32" (AB32).

AB32 requires California to reduce global warming pollution to 1990 levels by 2020. To get there, California passed a series of transportation and climate solutions, including strong emissions standards for new vehicles; a cap and trade carbon program; and progressive electric vehicle and fuels policies.

In good news for drivers everywhere, the solutions are working. Emissions standards are helping make vehicles cleaner and more efficient. The cap and trade program and clean fuel policy are saving billions of dollars in air pollution-related health costs. And as they use less fuel, drivers are saving significant amounts of money on gas.

Oil companies are blocking California’s progress

Large oil companies—including Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, and BP—have produced over 12 percent of all industrial carbon pollution since 1854. Yet despite their role in producing the problem, the same companies are actively fighting to be exempt from California’s AB32.

Oil companies argue that California’s policies will raise the price of gasoline, harming drivers. Yet on average, the gas savings from efficient vehicles more than offset the relatively modest costs of clean technology. When compared with the average conventional car, owners of more efficient vehicles will save thousands of dollars over their vehicle’s lifetime.

California’s AB32 also benefits drivers interested in used cars. A 10-year-old used car in 2025 will save its driver nearly $400 a year, compared with a 10-year-old car purchased in 2015.

Disadvantaged communities fare worst

Climate change and air pollution impact everyone, but they don’t impact everyone equally. Low-income communities are more likely to live near transportation corridors, exposing them to higher amounts of diesel particulate matter and other pollutants. The same communities may be disproportionately affected by the consequences of global warming. 

California’s climate policies—which the oil industry actively opposes—are helping address these negative impacts. A 2014 study found that the low-carbon fuel standard and cap and trade programs will significantly reduce asthma attacks, hospitalizations, and other health impacts associated with poor air quality, saving an estimated $8.3 billion in health costs. And at least one-quarter of the proceeds from the sale of carbon permits are being invested to benefit communities affected by air pollution.

AB32 makes good sense for drivers, the climate, and air pollution. Show your support and tell your California legislator that oil companies shouldn't stall California's climate law

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