Ruling could raise California fuel costs

Carbon emissions are a concern for many transportation companies, especially those that haven't yet employed hybrid or electric vehicles. While fleets across the country may be focused on reducing emissions by implementing logistics software, this is especially true for transportation companies operating in California since a federal appeals court recently upheld the state's low carbon fuel standards.

Law reinstated
California's law, aimed to combat global warming, was intended to reduce the state's dependence on fossil fuels by 20 percent and help lawmakers in their aim to slash greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 level by 2020, according to The Associated Press (AP).

The law was challenged by businesses within the state, and was initially overturned by a court that ruled the program put too many burdens on interstate commerce and the drawbacks far outweighed the law's benefits. Just last week, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that first ruling, which will allow the program to continue. This means the California Air Resources Board can continue with its implementation of the law and force gas and diesel producers, refiners and importers to reduce their emissions or face consequences.

"California should be encouraged to continue and to expand its efforts to find a workable solution to lower carbon emissions, or to slow their rise," Judge Ronald Gould wrote in the majority opinion. "If no such solution is found, California residents and people worldwide will suffer great harm. We will not at the outset block California from developing this innovative, nondiscriminatory regulation to impede global warming."

Potential repercussions for many industries
While companies in the gas and diesel production, refining and importing sectors have claimed the law will be detrimental to their businesses, the ruling could have a significant impact on other companies, as well. Fuel producers warned the decision could lead to higher costs for drivers within the state, which has a direct impact on fleets traveling through California.

If gasoline and diesel costs do rise as a result of the ruling, transportation companies may be even more eager to limit the number of miles traveled by their fleets. By employing route optimization software, drivers traveling through California can ensure they are taking the most direct routes, thus filling up less frequently and keeping fuel costs to a minimum.