California will phase out gasoline-powered cars over the next decade and a half, with the stated goal of allowing only the sale of zero-emission vehicles by the year 2035.
The state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, signed an executive order last week, saying transportation currently accounts for more than 50 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, 80 percent of smog-forming pollution, and 95 percent of toxic diesel emissions.
Zero-emission vehicles are a key part of California’s clean, innovation economy – already California’s second largest global export market.
“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” Newsom said. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”
Following the order, the California Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035 – a target which would achieve more than a 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80 percent improvement in oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide.
In addition, the Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100 percent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks.
To ensure needed infrastructure to support zero-emission vehicles, the order requires state agencies, in partnership with the private sector, to accelerate deployment of affordable fueling and charging options. It also requires support of new and used zero-emission vehicle markets to provide broad accessibility to zero-emission vehicles for all Californians. The executive order will not prevent Californians from owning gasoline-powered cars or selling them on the used car market.
Fifteen countries have already committed to phase out gasoline-powered cars.