PRESS RELASE – Daily Briefing | August 12, 2009
United Airlines has joined a new non-profit alliance, called Fueling California, that wants to raise awareness about the state’s fuel policies are having on the California economy. As part of that awareness program, Fueling California this week released a new study that show how the state’s unique fuel policies, taxes and fees have driven the cost of petroleum, including jet fuel, well above the national average. The study was done by University or California and California State University economists was aimed at showing how any carbon tax would negatively impact the state economy, including commercial aviation that generates $186 billion annually. "With the statewide unemployment rate at nearly 12 percent, there has never been a more critical moment to assess the impact of the state’s transportation fuel policies on the broader economy," noted Bob Sturtz, United Airlines managing director of strategic fuel sourcing as well as Fueling California’s board chairman. While much of the focus of the study was on the high price of gasoline in California relative to other states, it did note that the hindrances in place for jet fuel mirror those of other distillates. One example Sturtz cited was how state legislation has made it more attractive for California’s refineries to produce diesel and gasoline at the expense of jet fuel. "If you go back a few years, that meant that in some case 50% of the fuel used at Los Angeles International Airport had to be imported and that makes the cost the fuel higher." In addition to looking to provide information that can help the state shape its fuel tax and standards policies going forward, Sturtz said Fueling California, whose other members include UPS, Chevron, Union Pacific Railroad, Con-Way, Harris Ranch, Ambassador International and the Avis Budget Group, will also advocate for the increased use of alternative fuels. But Sturtz quickly stressed the group would not recommend one type of alternative fuel over another, adding, "We’re not here to try to pick winners. Our position is that we need to be focused on the introduction of multiple alternative fuel sources and technology," Sturtz said.