The order would only affect sales of new vehicles; gasoline-powered vehicles will still be allowed on the road.
- California Governor Newsom has signed an executive order that bans the sale of new gas-powered passenger cars in California starting in 2035.
- The zero-emissions effort will allow for gas-powered vehicles to continue to be sold on the used market in the state.
- California has led the nation in emissions rules since the ’70s. Today’s order pushes that further.
California has long led the country in emissions standards and has had its own emissions standard since California was issued a waiver under the 1970 Clean Air Act. Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing that further today with an executive order that all new in-state sales of passenger vehicles must be zero-emission by 2035. In other words, only EVs will be available for purchase as new vehicles from 2035 forward in the state. Announced in a live feed, the order was signed on the hood of a Ford Mustang Mach-E.
The governor said that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will develop regulations that mandate that all new passenger vehicles sold in the state be EVs by 2035. The state follows regulations from 15 countries that have called for similar bans on the sales of new vehicles. It would be the first state in the United States to announce such a regulation.
For those concerned about the internal-combustion-engined vehicle sitting in their driveway, the executive order does not ban the sale of used gas-powered vehicles after the date or try in any way to remove them from the road. Also, this won’t go into effect for 15 years. A lot can change, including the leadership of the state and of course vehicle technology.
Commercial vehicles get a bit of a reprieve. The new sale of only zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will have until 2045 when feasible.
In the order, the governor states: “In implementing this Paragraph, the State Air Resources Board shall act consistently with technological feasibility and cost-effectiveness.” That leaves the door open a bit if the cost of EVs fails to fall to the level of gas-powered cars. However, it’s likely that over the next 15 years, EV technology will become cheaper and range will increase.
The state is already targeting clean electric power by 2045. So today’s news is in line with the state’s goal to reduce emissions. The news also comes after wildfires have ravaged the state and scientists are overwhelmingly attributing the state’s extended fire season to climate change.
California is currently battling the Trump administration in the courts over the administration’s desire to remove the waiver that gives California the ability to set its own emissions standards. It’s likely today’s news will further open the rift between the state and the Trump administration on emissions issues.