California bans sales of all new gasoline-powered cars from 2035, a “historic turning point”

In what may be the beginning of the end of the internal combustion engine in the United States, California air regulators will vote Thursday on landmark rules to ban the sale of all new gasoline-powered cars, SUVs, minivans and pickups in the United States. . state in 2035.

The rules are among the most far-reaching California environmental laws in the past 50 years, and while major challenges remain, including the cost of new electric vehicles and the availability of charging stations, California’s decision is expected to be adopted by other states. , to reshape the US auto industry.

“Our previous regulations to make cars cleaner have made improvements,” Liane Randolph, president of the California Air Resources Board, said Wednesday. “But they were incremental. This regulation will essentially end vehicle emissions.”

The first-in-the-nation rules, aimed at drastically reducing greenhouse gas and smog emissions, will not ban gasoline-powered cars already on the road. Nor will they ban the sale of used copies after 2035.

But they will require 35% of all new passenger cars put up for sale in California by 2026 to be zero-emissions — basically electric, plug-in hybrid or fuel cell — rising to 68% by 2030 and 100% by 2035.

Environmental and public health groups applaud the rules, launched two years ago by an executive order from Governor Gavin Newsom.

“This is a very important, historic turning point in cleaning up pollution,” said William Barrett, national director for clean air for the American Lung Association.

Passenger cars are responsible for 29% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, more than any other source, including all factories and power plants. The new rules will cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks by 50% by 2040, the Air Council estimates, the equivalent of avoiding burning 915 million barrels of oil.

The rules will also require stricter smog standards for new gasoline vehicles over the next decade, leading to 1,200 fewer cardiopulmonary deaths from air pollution by 2040, the Air Board projects.

Opponents, led by the oil industry, say electric cars are still too expensive for the average person. Critics say phasing out gasoline-powered vehicles could lead to refineries leaving the state, closing gas stations, and other problems for motorists who want to keep traditional cars, which could become increasingly obsolete in the coming years.

“There are huge costs and logistical issues that are not being addressed,” said Kevin Slagle, a spokesperson for the Western States Petroleum Association. “We recognize that there is climate change. But you can’t force people into vehicles that don’t work for them. Forcing people too fast can cause a backlash.”

The auto industry, which now has 122 models of electric vehicles for sale in California — up from 46 in 2019 — is not against the new rules. But it wants the Air Board to regularly review vehicle costs, availability of battery materials and charging stations to see if the targets need to be adjusted.

“These are without a doubt the most sweeping and transformative regulations in the history of the auto industry,” said Steve Douglas, vice president of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a leading industry trade group, in a letter to the Air Council last month. .

“Automakers will work to meet the standards,” Douglas wrote, “but management should be aware that the proposed requirements will be extremely challenging.”

California aviation officials are expected to pass new rules Thursday requiring an increasing number of new cars sold in California to be zero-emissions.  Source: CARB
California aviation officials are expected to pass new rules Thursday requiring an increasing number of new cars sold in California to be zero-emissions. Source: CARB

The burning of fossil fuels, which trap heat in the atmosphere, is steadily warming the Earth’s climate. The 10 warmest years since 1880, when modern temperature records began, have all occurred since 2005, according to NASA and NOAA.

Higher temperatures have led to more wildfires, more severe droughts, sea level rise and other problems. California has led U.S. efforts to reduce fossil fuel combustion, passed laws to expand renewable energy, and provide incentives for electric vehicles. The state’s greenhouse gas emissions peaked in 2004 and have since fallen by 14%.

California is the country’s largest electric vehicle market. This year so far, 16% of all new cars, or one in six, sold in California are electric. The two best-selling passenger cars are both electric, the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y.

Former President Trump tried to dissuade California from setting its own car standards, saying climate change was a Chinese hoax. President Joe Biden has authorized California to set its own rules, and this month signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $369 billion in tax credits for electric vehicles and incentives for renewable energy.

Currently, 16 states containing about 40% of the US population, including Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and most of New England have adopted California’s clean air regulations. Many are expected to approve their own phase-out of gasoline vehicles.

Two important questions arise. Will there be enough charging points? And will people be able to afford the new cars?

There are now about 80,000 charging stations in California. The Air Board estimates that 714,000 will be needed by 2030. Air Board officials said on Wednesday that Newsom has put $10 billion in the state budget to help build charging stations and provide other incentives to lower the cost of electric vehicles.

As for the sticker price, the average cost of a new electric car in the US is $66,997, according to a recent Kelley Blue Book study. The average cost for a new gasoline passenger car is $48,043.

Randolph and other Air Force officials said on Wednesday that as numbers increase, they expect electric cars to cost the same as gasoline cars by 2030. They cited studies showing that electric vehicles cost up to 50% less because drivers don’t have to. buy gas, change oil or pay other costs.

Supporters of the rule note that while Teslas can regularly exceed $75,000, there are other models of new electric vehicles that are much cheaper. For example, a new Nissan Leaf starts at $28,495, while a Chevy Bolt starts at $32,495 and a VW ID.4 has a starting price of $42,525.

More than 40 other countries have already committed to phasing out new petrol vehicles. Germany, Britain, Israel and Sweden have bans that go into effect in 2030, five years ahead of California’s. Others, such as Canada, China, Italy and South Korea, have a phase-out date of 2035. Others are committed to 2040, including India, Mexico, New Zealand and Spain.

“In the coming years, we will see a wider range of electric vehicles on the road – everything from passenger cars to SUVs,” said Barrett. “There will be a robust network of charging stations, just as common as the gas stations you see now. It will just be a normal part of everyday life. As the car population ages, petrol cars will increasingly be replaced by cars that do not pollute.”

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