The Fuel Sustainability Briefing series gives practitioners information to develop practical approaches that accelerate the transition to low-carbon fuels by summarizing our research to date on the market outlook, key issues, and sustainability potential for five fuel categories.
Findings are based on extensive literature review and comments by hundreds of practitioners and subject-matter experts over the past three years. They will be used as an input to a fuel sustainability decision-tool for fleet owners currently in development. More detailed guidance is available in our reports on The Sustainability Impacts of Fuel and Transitioning to Low-Carbon Fuel.
Petroleum is 90 percent of commercial fuel use today, and its use impacts climate, health, and human rights. But there are ways to use petroleum better even while it cedes share to lower-carbon fuels.
Natural gas use is booming due to its low cost, availability, and reduced climate impacts. Yet key climate, water, and production impacts must be avoided or reduced to realize its sustainability potential.
Biofuels can be a low-carbon renewable fuel that reduce climate impacts by 80 percent or more. However, costs, availability, and uncertainties around some impacts reduce its growth as an alternative fuel.
Electricity is a more efficient source of power, and renewable electrification offers near-zero climate impact. Yet technical barriers persist for its use in freight even while certain applications can reduce climate impacts.
Low-carbon hydrogen light-duty fuel cell vehicles are hitting the road today, but their prospect for freight are less certain due to technical challenges. Specialized applications are possible.