Energy & Environment

California to approve 2035 ban on gas-powered car sales

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters at Del Mar Fairgrounds on Feb. 18, 2022, in Del Mar, Calif. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)

California is expected on Thursday to approve a ban on the sale of new gas-powered cars that would begin in 2035. 

The state’s Air Resources Board on Thursday will vote on the ban, which would also ratchet up the percentage of vehicles sold in the state that are electric leading up to the 2035 date. 

California’s clean car standards are also often adopted by other states, so the impact of this rule could stretch far beyond its borders.

Gas powered cars are a major source of climate-warming emissions and other air pollutants, and the measure has been touted as an attempt to both tackle climate change and improve public health.

In 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued an executive order seeking to phase out the sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2035, but Thursday’s action will actually put that goal in motion. 

The California plan is more ambitious than federal goals. President Biden said last year that he hoped that half of new vehicle sales would be electric by 2030. That year, California’s regulations would mandate 68 percent of vehicle sales in the state are electric.

Automakers in recent months have moved toward increasing electric vehicle sales, with several making pledges to increase the proportion of vehicles they sell that are electric.

Nevertheless, this week, some in the industry criticized California’s forthcoming regulation as difficult for companies to comply with. 

John Bozzella, president of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation trade group, described the standards as “extremely challenging” in a written statement.

“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,” he said. “These are complex, intertwined and global issues well beyond the control of either [The California Air Resources Board] or the auto industry.”

Updated at 2:28 p.m.

Tags Biden California California Air Resources Board Electric vehicles Gavin Newsom John Bozzella
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