UMaine Economist Part of National Energy Project

Car Plug

Six researchers, including University of Maine economist Jonathan Rubin, released Thursday a series of studies that found the fuels of the future will be cleaner, cheaper and more “made in America” if the United States adopts a national Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).

The National LCFS Project released the reports during a bipartisan briefing on Capitol Hill, co-hosted by U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. The National LCFS Project is a collaboration among researchers from six top U.S. institutions, each looking at a different aspect of how a Low Carbon Fuel Standard would affect America’s energy posture, national security, environment and economy.

The reports including technical analysis and policy design recommendations.

A Low Carbon Fuel Standard is designed to reduce the amount of carbon in transportation fuels. It would require all energy companies to meet a common target for carbon intensity, but leave it up to the companies themselves to decide how to reach that goal. For example, an oil company might choose to diversify into electric or hydrogen fuels, or it might add more low-carbon biofuels to its mix of offerings, or it might buy credits from companies that specialize in low-carbon fuels, or that can lower the carbon intensity of their fuels more efficiently.

“An LCFS encourages innovation and diversity by harnessing market forces,” Rubin says. “These reports provide practical policy recommendations, and are designed to inject scientific information into the national conversation on a Low Carbon Fuel Standard.”

The peer-reviewed reports will be published in The Energy Policy Journal’s special issue on Low Carbon Fuel Policy over the next several months.

In addition to UMaine and the University of California, Davis, which is overseeing the project, the participating researchers are from Oak Ridge National Laboratory; the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Carnegie Mellon University; and the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Rubin is a professor in UMaine’s School of Economics and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. His fields of interest include environmental and resource economics, transportation energy and policy, and biofuels.

More information and copies of the reports are online (

Contact: Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777 or