Sustainable aviation fuel policy in the United States: A pragmatic way forward

Lake Michigan’s shoreline seen from an airplane (Unsplash/Simon Maage)

The aviation sector has been working to decarbonize, but it faces unique challenges since decarbonization options that may work for ground or maritime transport are generally not feasible for air travel. Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) present an opportunity to decarbonize the aviation sector, but federal policies that address SAF have largely included SAF as an add-on to existing policies that are meant primarily to address ground transportation. However, due to the unique challenges presented to decarbonization by the aviation sector, the use of SAF should be incentivized through pragmatic, sector-specific federal policies.

The new Atlantic Council report by Fred Ghatala, Sustainable Aviation Fuel Policy in the United States: A Pragmatic Way Forward, provides a set of near and long-term federal policy options that could be implemented in order to encourage the use of SAF. The report contextualizes each policy choice and explains the implications of each option, differentiating between policies that can be implemented in the near-term and policies that require long-term implementation.

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