The state with the largest auto market in the U.S. is poised to ban the sale of new combustion engine vehicles by 2035, hastening the transition to electric vehicles in America and beyond.
California regulators on the California Air Resources Board will vote Thursday to enact a sweeping plan that bans gas-powered vehicles—a move that would likely spur at least a dozen other states to follow suit with similar plans.
"This is monumental," board member Daniel Sperling told CNN. "This is the most important thing that CARB has done in the last 30 years. It's important not just for California, but it's important for the country and the world."
The rule, issued by the California Air Resources Board, will require that all new cars sold in the state by 2035 be free of greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide. The rule also sets interim targets, requiring that 35 percent of new passenger vehicles sold by 2026 produce zero emissions. That requirement climbs to 68 percent by 2030.
Transportation is the nation’s top source of planet-warming greenhouse-gas emissions.
Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, called the new rule “one of the most significant steps to the elimination of the tailpipe as we know it.”
“Our kids are going to act like it’s a rotary phone, or changing the channel on a television,” Governor Newsom said in an interview. [...]
The governments of Canada, Britain and at least nine other European countries — including France, Spain and Denmark — have set goals of phasing out the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles between 2030 and 2040. But none have concrete mandates or regulations like the California rule. (NYT)
But the plan appears to put the cart before the horse in a state that already struggles with energy shortfalls.
“Whether or not these requirements are realistic or achievable is directly linked to external factors like inflation, charging and fuel infrastructure, supply chains, labor, critical mineral availability and pricing, and the ongoing semiconductor shortage,” John Bozzella, president of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, told the Times.
“Where is that increased power being sourced from?” said Ann Bluntzer, the executive director of the Ralph Lowe Energy Institute at Texas Christian University. “Fossil fuels? Wind? Solar? Hydro?”
In addition to these concerns, there’s also the issue of how lower income residents would afford electric vehicles, which are currently cost prohibitive.
The vote comes two years after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order mandating all passenger vehicles sold in California be zero emission by 2035, a move helped by the Biden administration reinstating the state's ability to set its own vehicle emission standards earlier this year.