In a frantic effort to reach net zero emissions, California just announced a ban on the sale of new gas-powered vehicles within the state beginning in 2035.
“The climate crisis is solvable if we focus on the big, bold steps necessary to stem the tide of carbon pollution,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
As reported by the New York Times, leading up to the ban, the state has further set aggressive targets at phasing out gas-powered vehicles. To this end, California has set interim targets to have 35% of all vehicles be emissions-free by 2026 and that 68% of all vehicles should be emissions-free by 2030.
California previously outlined its ambitious goal in a plan released in April 2022.
“The Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) regulatory proposal will drive the sales of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) to 100-percent ZEVs in California by the 2035 model year, including battery electric vehicles (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) and the cleanest possible plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEV), while reducing smog-forming emissions from new internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs),” an executive summary of the plan reads.
While Newsom is confident in the state’s ability to phase out conventional gas-powered vehicles, many are concerned about how feasible this will be and how it will affect prices in a time of high inflation.
“Whether or not these requirements are realistic or achievable is directly linked to external factors like inflation, charging and fuel infrastructure, supply chains, labour, critical mineral availability and pricing, and the ongoing semiconductor shortage,” John Bozzella, president of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, said in an email. He added that the new EV mandate would be “extremely challenging” to achieve.
Those looking more favourably upon California’s decision say that the ban on gas-powered vehicles will set a new precedent for governments looking to bring in similar EV mandates or lower the proportion of gas-powered vehicles on the road.
According to Drew Kodjak, executive director of the International Council on Clean Transportation, the ban on gas-powered vehicles “will set the global high-water mark for the accelerated transition to electric vehicles.”