Data Source: Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. Note: The carbon intensity of energy supply (CO2/Btu) reflects the energy fuel mix within a state. Analysis by Beacon Economics
  • In 2021, California's carbon intensity was 8.8 percent lower than that of the rest of the U.S. Compared to 2019, California's carbon intensity dropped 2.6 percent, while that of the rest of the U.S. also decreased by 1.6 percent. California had the third most significant decline in carbon intensity compared to 2019, behind Illinois (-4.1%) and Texas (-3.5%). Florida came close with a 2.0 percent drop, followed by Ohio (-0.9%) and Pennsylvania (-0.6%). While all other states' carbon intensity had a modest drop in 2021, New York (+1.2%), Ohio (-0.9 %), Pennsylvania (-0.6%) and Florida’s (-2.0%) declines were slower than the national average reduction rate of 2.2 percent.
  • After the decline in carbon intensity in California in 2020 (-2.9%), the carbon intensity of California’s energy supply (CO2) relative to British thermal unit) rose by 0.35 percent in 2021, which is less than other populous U.S. states. Energy supply carbon intensity decreased by slightly less in California (-8.5%) compared to the rest of the U.S. (-11.4%) from 2000 to 2021. California's rate of reduction of carbon intensity has changed from 2019 to 2021—decreasing by 2.6 percent, which is faster than the reduction rate of 2.1 percent recorded from 2018 to 2019. Many states, including California, have shown substantial reductions in carbon intensity. California’s remaining fossil fuel consumption mix (coal, petroleum, and natural gas) shifted slightly toward more petroleum (less polluting than coal but more polluting than natural gas) for transportation purposes and less natural gas. As a result of these shifting energy source trends, energy supply carbon intensity decreased more slowly in California (-8.5%) compared to the rest of the U.S. (-15.5%) from 2000 to 2021. From 2011 to 2021, California’s energy intensity decreased by 4.1 percent, more slowly than the rest of the U.S. (-10.6%). Petroleum is the main source of emissions from fuel, which underscores California’s need to shift away from petroleum-based fuel in order to reduce emissions from transportation. As California looks to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035 and as zero-emission vehicles become more commonplace, the transportation sector should become increasingly electrified and the state should move away from fossil fuels as a significant source of emissions.