Carbon Neutrality Studies: Reducing Transportation Fossil Fuel Demand and Emissions, and Managing the Decline in Transportation Fossil Fuel Supply (en español)

University of California researchers are conducting two state-funded studies to help California reach its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045. 

Latest Update: (10/21/20)
As an intermediate step, the authors of each study are publishing the background, policy context and a “business as usual” scenario, as a synthesis report. Synthesis reports for each study are posted to the web by university researchers (links below). These reports provide critical baseline information that will inform the findings and recommendations in the final reports, which will be provided to CalEPA at the end of 2020.

Public workshops on the synthesis reports are scheduled for Oct. 22-23.

Synthesis Reports:

Scopes of Work:

  • Study 1, conducted by the University of California Institute of Transportation Studies, will identify strategies to significantly reduce transportation-related fossil fuel demand and emissions, including transitioning to zero emission vehicles, accelerating the use of alternative fuel sources, and reducing vehicle miles traveled.
  • Study 2, conducted by the University of California, Santa Barbara, will identify strategies to responsibly manage the decline of transportation-related fossil fuel supply.

Final reports will be produced on each of the of the two studies.  The final reports will identify scenarios, assumptions, and related strategies, tools, options, tradeoffs and benefits for areas where action can be taken now, as well as where additional actions, targets, policies, research and technology development are needed in the medium and longer term.

The studies will inform and support ongoing and planned state regulatory and policy processes that will guide the state’s path to carbon neutrality. They will include an integrated understanding of the social, economic, workforce and community dimensions of the transitions to carbon neutrality. In addition, the studies may identify needed resources and investments and serve as a resource to guide and leverage future state funding.

Past Public Engagement

Public and stakeholder comments on the draft scopes of work were accepted through Jan. 15, 2020. CalEPA plans further public engagement as the studies develop. You can read prior public comments.

Past Public Meetings
To inform the draft scopes of work, CalEPA and its partner agencies held three public workshops in 2019 across the state where they discussed the priorities of these studies and solicited public input. The workshops were held on Sept. 24 in Sacramento, Nov. 13 in Bakersfield and Nov. 14 in Wilmington.

Sept. 24, 2019 Meeting in Sacramento

Public Notice         Meeting Slides        Video of Meeting


Nov. 13, 2019 Meeting in Bakersfield

Small Group Discussion Guide
Sift Report


Nov. 14, 2019 Meeting in Wilmington

Small Group Discussion Guide
Sift Report 11-14-19


Funding for Studies

The studies are funded with proceeds from California’s Cap and Trade Program and are part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.

The studies are authorized by the Budget Act of 2019, which includes the following descriptions:


Vehicle Emissions Study

Of the funds appropriated in this item, $1,500,000 shall be available for a study to identify strategies to significantly reduce emissions from vehicles and to achieve carbon neutrality in the sector, including the transition to zero-emission light-duty vehicles, in particular, passenger vehicles, the transition to zero-emission heavy vehicles, and the adoption of other technology to significantly reduce emissions from heavy vehicles; the role of alternative fuels; and the impact of land use policy. The study shall include, but not be limited to, strategies for reducing vehicle miles traveled, including increasing transit ridership. The Secretary for Environmental Protection shall consult with the State Air Resources Board, Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, the Transportation Agency, the Office of Planning and Research, and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development on the study.


Demand and Supply of Fossil Fuels Study

Of the funds appropriated in this item, $1,500,000 shall be available for a study to identify strategies to decrease demand and supply of fossil fuels, while managing the decline of fossil fuel use in a way that is economically responsible and sustainable. The Secretary for Environmental Protection shall contract with the University of California system to produce this study. An interagency state team led by the California Environmental Protection Agency shall further develop the scope of the study in order to evaluate pathways to achieve a carbon neutral economy by 2045, manage the decline of in-state production as the state’s fossil fuel demand decreases, and assess potential impacts to disadvantaged and low-income communities and strategies to address those impacts. The Secretary for Environmental Protection shall consult with the Natural Resources Agency, the Transportation Agency, the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, and the Office of Planning and Research on the study.