California mulling ban on combustion-engine vehicles

California mulling ban on combustion-engine vehicles
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California regulators are exploring ways to eventually ban the sale of vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines, a top official told Bloomberg News.

California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols said the state, led by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, is interested in following the example set by China, which said earlier this month that it would move toward banning internal-combustion engines in the country.

“I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’” Nichols said, adding that any potential ban would be a decade or more away.

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“The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.”

Chinese officials said this month that they would try to end the sale of polluting vehicles by 2030. France and the United Kingdom are aiming to institute similar bans by 2040.

A similar ban in California would likely garner opposition from automakers and even federal regulators.

An automakers association told Bloomberg that the industry is working with California on “intelligent, market-based approaches to emissions reductions,” and the state would need to establish a mechanism for banning the sale of internal-combustion vehicles that fits within its authority to write pollution rules.

“There are people who believe, including who work for me, that you could stop all sales of new internal-combustion cars by 2030. Some people say 2035, some people say 2040,” Nichols told Bloomberg.

“It’s awfully hard to predict any of that with precision, but it doesn’t appear to be out of the question.”