State Approves Plan to Phase Out Gas-Fueled Vehicles


Last updated 9/2/2022 at 1:12pm

Under a new policy approved by regulators that seeks a dramatic cut in carbon emissions and an eventual end to gasoline-powered vehicles, California plans to require all new cars, trucks and SUVs to run on electricity or hydrogen by 2035.

This policy, however, will not ban people from owning and driving gas-fueled vehicles or from selling them on the used market.

This rule, issued by the California Air Resources Board, will force automakers to speed up production of cleaner vehicles beginning in 2026.

The policy still needs federal approval.

The unanimous vote comes after Governor Gavin Newsom set a target in 2020 to accelerate the shift away from internal combustion engines.

The decision is expected to have sweeping impacts beyond California and will likely pave the way for other states to possibly follow. New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania have adopted California’s vehicle standards on previous clean-car rules.

Liane Randolph, chair of the California Air Resources Board, said the rule is one of the state’s most important efforts yet to clean the air and will lead to a 50% reduction in pollution from cars and light trucks by 2040.

State climate officials say this new policy is the world’s most ambitious because it “sets benchmarks for ramping up electric vehicles sales over the next 13 years.”

The switch to electric cars will also drastically reduce emissions and air pollutants, but the transition will be painful for the state’s oil industry.

California is the seventh largest oil producing state.

The rule, however, does phase out such vehicles over time, requiring 35% of total new vehicle sales to be powered by batteries or hydrogen by 2026 and 68% by 2030.

More than 16% of new cars sold in the state in 2022 were zero-emissions vehicles, up from 12.41% in 2021 and 7.78% in 2020.

However, electric vehicles are still really expensive, with the average price over $60,000. This poses one of a few problems with the new policy.

Other issues include making batteries cheaper as China currently dominates the rare earth mineral market and the auto industry has long relied on the country to source EV batteries. Another is ensuring access to charging stations. The infrastructure bill passed by Congress last year provides $5 billion for states to build chargers every 50 miles along the highways. With the sales of cars going up, so will the demand for chargers on the energy grid.