Poll: 3 in 4 British Columbians support clean fuels regulation

By Western Canada Biodiesel Association | October 02, 2014

A new poll shows that three in four British Columbians support BC’s renewable and low carbon fuels regulation.

Under the regulation, transportation fuels sold in BC must have renewable content (5 percent in gasoline and 4 percent in diesel) and 10 percent less carbon content by 2020. This regulation has been quietly working every day since 2010 with no negative impact on fuel price or performance, and important reductions in tailpipe emissions and greenhouse gas pollution.

The Ipsos Reid poll of 800 British Columbians shows that a significant majority (75 percent) support the renewable and low carbon fuel regulation. Support is remarkably uniform across British Columbia’s diverse regions, and across age groups, income levels, employment status and family types.

The top reasons for support center on benefits to the environment and the need to start using alternative/renewable energy sources. The poll asked respondents what they believed was important to know about the regulation; their responses showed interest in all categories of information presented to them, but ‘renewable fuels are proven to work in today’s engines’ and ‘consumers in BC have increased fuel options’ emerged as most important to know. Respondents also rated highly the need to know that the regulation ‘increased competition amongst fuel suppliers and helped to moderate fuel price increases’ and that it ‘resulted in the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions.’

The BC regulation delivered 25 percent (905,000 metric tons) of the province’s greenhouse gas reductions in 2012. It also created more competition in the fuels market, with increased use of biodiesel, ethanol, electricity and natural gas for cars and trucks.

The seamless introduction of ethanol and biodiesel into the in BC fuels market has gone mostly un-noticed; only 10 percent of respondents say they are ‘clearly aware’ of the regulation. Once respondents had reviewed more detailed information about the regulation, overall support remained consistent but the intensity of support increased, with the proportion indicating that they ‘strongly support’ the regulation increasing from 24 percent to 30 pecent. This highlights the opportunity for the BC government and other climate action advocates to more broadly publicize the regulation’s benefits to British Columbians.

The visibility of clean fuels in BC is changing. Because of the BC regulation, alternative fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol are now used across BC. Biodiesel produced in Canada is sustainable and globally-proven, creating jobs at home and reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. With 59 percent to 96 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than diesel, and cleaner tailpipe emissions, Canadian biodiesel is a significant contributor to clean urban air and BC’s climate action leadership.

Low carbon fuel standards are the front line for taking action on fossil fuel carbon pollution and creating real market competition. California has a similar regulation already in place, with Washington State and Oregon actively working towards comparable rules. In British Columbia, the public strongly endorses action by the province to open up access to renewable and low carbon fuel alternatives for all consumers.