Governor of Massachusetts Signs Clean Energy Biofuels Act

August 04, 2008

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed the Clean Energy Biofuels Act in late July, which exempts biofuels made from cellulose from the state's gasoline tax, mandates mixing biodiesel with diesel starting in 2010, and obligates the state to create a low-carbon fuel standard to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by 10%.

The state legislature developed the biofuels act based on recommendations of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Advanced Biofuels Task Force . (The office manages the Division of Energy Resources, which manages the State Energy Program in Massachusetts.) In April, the task force issued a report recommending that the state establish a low-carbon fuel standard.

The biofuels act has three parts:

  1. Exempts biofuels made from cellulose, usually ethanol, from the state's gasoline tax
  2. Mandates biodiesel be mixed with all diesel motor fuel and home heating oil beginning at 2% per year in 2010 and increasing to 5% in 2013
  3. Requires the state to develop a low-carbon fuel standard to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from transportation by 10%. The new standard will be developed in conjunction with other eastern states that are members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. To date, only California has enacted a carbon standard for transportation fuels.

At the bill signing, Patrick said, "We get our fuels from a regional market, so the best way to encourage alternatives to petroleum is through a regional approach." He added that the new bill will encourage the growth of a vibrant alternative fuels industry in the state and reduce petroleum consumption without driving up food prices.

For more information the biofuels act, read the governor's July 28 press release.

To read more about renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Massachusetts, see: