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Calif. LCFS credit prices drop $11 in December 2016 to $89/tonne average

Ending 2016 below $100/tonne, California Low-Carbon Fuel Standard, or LCFS, credit prices posted an average price of $89/tonne in December 2016, down $11 on the month, even as trading volumes continued to climb.

Monthly data released by the California Air Resources Board in mid-January show California LCFS prices ranged from a low of $55.00/tonne to a high of $125.00/tonne in December 2016. The agency said 142 transfers occurred in December 2016, for a total volume of 1,052,000 credits. This compares to 84 transfers in November 2016 and a total volume of 794,000 credits that month.

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According to the data, 72 entities were sellers in December 2016, while 24 parties were buyers of California LCFS credits that month. Fifty-one entities were both sellers and buyers of California LCFS credits in December 2016.

On a quarterly basis, the average price for California LCFS credits was $93/tonne in the fourth quarter of 2016, $94/tonne in the third quarter of 2016 and $116/tonne in the second quarter of 2016.

The LCFS requires California fuel providers to calculate the carbon intensity of fuel sold for transportation, including imported fuel. The program requires a 10% reduction of average carbon intensity of fuels by 2020, imposing a gradual cap on carbon intensity levels in the years preceding.

In September 2015, the CARB readopted the state's LCFS regulation with changes. The most notable change was a ratcheting up of the carbon intensity target reduction levels from 2016 through 2019, since the level had been frozen in 2013 at a 1% cut below 2010 levels following legal challenges. The reduction in carbon intensity levels is pegged at 2% in 2016, 3.5% in 2017, 5% in 2018, 7.5% in 2019 and 10% in 2020 and beyond.

CARB's monthly statistical data includes transfers that have been proposed and completed as well as those that were proposed and still pending buyer's confirmation in the LCFS Reporting Tool and Credit Bank and Transfer System.

Market prices and included industry data are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change. For more detailed market data, including power and natural gas index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities Pages.