Cal­i­for­nia to ban new gas-pow­ered cars by 2035

- Mark Olalde and Janet Wil­son

Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Gavin New­som signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der Wed­nes­day that will ban the sale of new gaso­linepow­ered cars and other pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles in the state by 2035. The move was among a num­ber of ac­tions the Demo­cratic gov­er­nor an­nounced aimed at slash­ing the state’s green­house gas emis­sions and other pol­lu­tion.

The ex­ec­u­tive or­der will not pre­vent Cal­i­for­ni­ans from own­ing gaso­linepow­ered cars or sell­ing them on the used car mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to the state.

Hy­draulic frac­tur­ing, a method of oil and gas ex­trac­tion known as frack­ing, could also be on the Golden State’s chop­ping block. New­som said he was work­ing with the Cal­i­for­nia Leg­is­la­ture to ban the prac­tice by 2024. The or­der also aims to cre­ate new health and safety reg­u­la­tions “that pro­tect work­ers and com­mu­ni­ties from the im­pacts of oil ex­trac­tion.”

New­som an­nounced his or­der stand­ing in front of a line of elec­tric ve­hi­cles from brands in­clud­ing Audi and Tesla and flanked by Cal­i­for­nia Air Re­sources Board Chair Mary Ni­chols.

“Of all the si­mul­ta­ne­ous crises that we face as a state and I’d ar­gue as a na­tion – for that mat­ter from a global per­spec­tive – none is more im­por­tant, none is more force­ful than the is­sue of the cli­mate cri­sis,” he said.

New­som’s or­der begins by stat­ing that “the cli­mate change cri­sis is hap­pen­ing now, im­pact­ing Cal­i­for­nia in un­prece­dented ways, and af­fect­ing the health and safety of too many Cal­i­for­ni­ans.” It goes on to note the im­pact of the eco­nomic dev­as­ta­tion wrought by COVID-19, say­ing that “as our econ­omy re­cov­ers, we must ac­cel­er­ate the tran­si­tion to a car­bon-neu­tral fu­ture,” in­clud­ing an em­pha­sis on get­ting cli­mate so­lu­tions to low-in­come ar­eas.

Ac­cord­ing to the state, the trans­porta­tion sec­tor ac­counts for more than half of Cal­i­for­nia’s car­bon emis­sions, 80% of its smog-form­ing pol­lu­tion and 95% of diesel emis­sions. Cal­i­for­nia, the na­tion’s most pop­u­lous state, has about 40 mil­lion peo­ple and there were more than 36 mil­lion paid ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tions in the state in 2019, ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles.

“This (elec­tric ve­hi­cles) is the next big global in­dus­try and Cal­i­for­nia wants to dom­i­nate it.” Gov. Gavin New­som

Although Cal­i­for­nia makes up about 12% of the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion, it ac­counted for nearly 50% of the new elec­tric ve­hi­cles sold around the coun­try be­tween 2010 and 2017, ac­cord­ing to re­search from In­ter­na­tional Coun­cil on Clean Trans­porta­tion. New­som said that roughly 726,000 elec­tric ve­hi­cles are on Cal­i­for­nia roads.

He added that there are 34 man­u­fac­tur­ers of elec­tric ve­hi­cles in Cal­i­for­nia, the most of any state in the coun­try, with a com­bined mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion of nearly $500 bil­lion. He said the state’s sec­ond-largest ex­port is elec­tric ve­hi­cles, and the green econ­omy “broadly de­fined” ac­counts for five times as many jobs in the state as the oil and gas in­dus­try.

“This is the next big global in­dus­try,” New­som said, “and Cal­i­for­nia wants to dom­i­nate it.” He noted that Cal­i­for­nia-based Tesla, for ex­am­ple, had said just this week that it ex­pects to pro­duce a $25,000 elec­tric car within three years be­cause of ad­vances in bat­tery tech­nol­ogy.

New­som said Cal­i­for­nia’s move would push U.S. auto man­u­fac­tur­ers to “en­hance and ad­vance” their com­pet­i­tive­ness glob­ally and noted that other coun­tries in­clud­ing China, Japan and Is­rael have also set bench­marks for adopt­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cles. He praised Ford as one that “gets it” but said oth­ers have yet to. “They are on the wrong side of his­tory,” New­som said.

The Cal­i­for­nia Air Re­sources Board will be tasked with de­vel­op­ing the reg­u­la­tions man­dat­ing that all cars sold in-state be­gin­ning in 2035 are “zero emis­sion” ve­hi­cles. The state pre­dicts that the move will re­sult in a more than 35% re­duc­tion in green­house gas emis­sions and an 80% re­duc­tion in toxic fumes in ve­hi­cle ex­haust.

The board will be re­spon­si­ble for cre­at­ing ad­di­tional reg­u­la­tions man­dat­ing zero-emis­sion medium- and heavy-duty trucks by 2045 “where fea­si­ble,” the gov­er­nor said. New­som’s or­der in­structs the state to ex­pand charg­ing in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port the ex­pected surge in elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

Sales of plug-in elec­tric ve­hi­cles have grown quickly in the past decade, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Depart­ment of En­ergy, although the num­ber sold dropped be­tween 2018 and 2019.

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