California Banning New Gas-Powered Car Sales In 2035

Daniel Fowler
September 24, 2020

The dramatic move is the most significant yet by a US state aimed at ending the use of fossil fuel-burning internal combustion engines, and clashes with the pro-fossil fuel policies of the Trump White House.

The Trump administration has been waging a multi-pronged battle to counter California's efforts to fight climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses from vehicles. The executive order, one of the most ambitious in the nation, will require all new vehicles sold after that date to be zero-emission.

In a series of tweets, Governor Newsom said transportation is responsible for 50 percent of California's greenhouse gas emissions. CARB will also be developing similar regulations for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles which will go into effect by 2045, "where feasible".

He says it will force California businesses to further innovate in the "no carbon" energy sector, noting that the state already has 34 electric vehicle manufacturers.

"If you want to reduce asthma, if you want to mitigate the rise of sea level, if you want to mitigate a loss of ice sheets around the globe, then this is a policy for other states to follow", Newsom said.

U.S. President Donald Trump has sought to bar California from requiring sale of electric vehicles, while his rival Joe Biden has pledged to spend billions to speed the adoption of electric vehicles.

In a statement, White House spokesman Judd Deere called the move "alarming" and said it would destroy jobs and raises consumer costs. A dozen countries including the UK, Germany and India have all passed legislation to phase out gas-powered vehicles by 2030 while Canada and France have established a goal of 2040.

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The proposed rule would not ban people from owning petrol-powered cars or selling them on the used vehicle market, but it would end the sales of all new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks in the state of almost 40 million people.

While pleased about Newsom's action on zero-emission vehicles, environmental activists remain skeptical about his actions on fracking.

Jessica Caldwell, the executive director at Edmunds, the online resource for automobile information, said, "Many automakers have been guilty of setting short term targets for their electrification strategy that never came to fruition".

The group noted electrified vehicles account for less than 10% of new vehicle sales in California, which is still best in the United States.

The order comes as massive wildfires have burned a record 14,500 square kilometres in California this year. Environmental groups had hoped he would ban all new drilling permits in the state.

California and the Trump administration have been at odds in recent years regarding the state's ability to set its own emissions rules, which is granted through waivers provided by the federal Clean Air Act.

California is the world's fifth-largest economy and Californians account for more than one out of every 10 new vehicles sold in the USA - market clout that means Newsom's order could have a huge impact on the country's auto industry and the global effort to reduce pollution and combat climate change.

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