Scaling Sustainable Aviation Fuel: Recommendations to Federal Policy Makers from Washington State

The aviation industry currently accounts for 2 percent of global carbon emissions, the vast majority of which is due to the use of fossil jet fuel. As air travel grows at a projected rate of 3 to 4 percent per year, the aviation industry will continue its reliance on energy dense liquid fuels with few transformative mitigation technologies on the horizon. Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) offers a drop-in replacement for traditional petroleum-based jet-fuel and a path forward to reduce the emissions of air travel in the near-term. Scaling SAF technology and production to meet the needs of the growing aviation industry requires a combination of private and public investment, research and development, infrastructure build-out, and workforce development. The success of these efforts will depend on collaboration among industry, government, academia, and non-governmental organizations.

Washington state has demonstrated leadership in bringing together stakeholders across the aviation industry to study, plan, and address the barriers to scaling the production of sustainable aviation fuels within the state. Building on insights from over more than a decade of state-level progress, this brief offers recommendations to federal policymakers to scale sustainable aviation fuel developed in a C2ES roundtable convening hosted in Seattle in April 2024.

Policy Recommendations

  • Congress should extend tax credits to cover at least 10 years from when a SAF production facility is placed in service.
  • Congress should provide not less than $244,500,000 annually for FAST-SAF.
  • Congress should direct the Federal Aviation Administration to allow SAF purchasing and investments in SAF infrastructure as an appropriate use of airport revenue.
  • Congress should direct federal agencies administering SAF-related funding to require applicants to consider how the project will support equitable workforce development.

Read the factsheet for this brief for a summary of the recommendations.

About Regional Roundtables

Efforts to accelerate the transition to the low-carbon economy of the future are accelerating across all sectors of the economy. To chart a pathway to sustainable, long-term prosperity, communities must be able to leverage their particular strengths and capitalize on emerging economic opportunities, while addressing barriers that are often unique to their communities. To that end, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is hosting a series of regional roundtables to bring together local, state, and federal government, businesses of all sizes, community organizations and nonprofits, academics and issue experts, trade associations, investors, philanthropy, economic development organizations, and individuals working across sectors. These conversations are meant to elevate the perspectives of a diverse set of stakeholders who are deeply embedded in their communities and uniquely positioned to speak to the needs of their states and regions. They are also meant to create opportunities to integrate local perspectives into state and federal policy decisions and identify concrete steps to better align the long-term prosperity of these communities with the urgent task of reaching net-zero emissions economywide.