California regulators unveiled a proposal this week to ban the sale of all new gas-fueled cars by 2035, as the state pushes for more electric and zero-emissions vehicle sales in the next four years.
The proposal, released by the California Air Resources Board on Tuesday, outlines the plan to have new cars powered by batteries or hydrogen make up 35% of the state’s car sales by 2026 before the cars make up 100% of sales by 2035. California accounts for around 11% of all new passenger car sales in the United States, the most out of any state.
Californians would still be allowed to drive gas-powered cars and sell used ones since the proposal applies to only new car models. Up to 20% of sales by 2035 can be plug-in hybrids that can run on a combination of battery and gas, and all electric vehicles must get at least 150 miles per charge.
The plan follows a September 2020 executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom to phase out gas-fueled cars so the state can become carbon neutral by 2045.
Passenger vehicles contribute about a quarter of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions, more than any other single source, according to the board. The program is part of California’s efforts to drastically reduce carbon emissions.
Between 2026 and 2040, state experts estimate the program would lower emissions by nearly 384 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. That’s a little less than all emissions across California’s economy in a single year.
“Emissions from motor vehicle engines hurt public health, welfare, the environment and the climate in multiple interrelated ways. Reducing emissions of one kind supports reducing emissions of others and contributes to decreasing the severity of their impacts,” the report reads.
The state is currently making strides in its sales of electric cars. The board said electric vehicles made up 12.4% of new car sales in 2021. In 2020, it was 7.8%.
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Automakers including Ford and Toyota told the Associated Press to defer to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation for a statement on the proposal.
“Automakers will certainly work to meet whatever standards are eventually adopted, but these draft requirements will be extremely challenging even in California and may not be achievable in all the states that currently follow California’s program,” the group said.
Environmental group Center for Biological Diversity said the proposal “charts inadequate progress” toward the goal set for 2035, arguing the plan needs to implemented sooner in 2030.
“There’s no excuse for California to take the slow road to an all-electric future when we’re being gouged at the gas pump and facing epic drought and wildfires,” Scott Hochberg, a transportation attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, said in a statement. “To protect people and the planet, California has to free our streets from tailpipe pollution as fast as possible.”
The board is expected to vote on the proposal in August.
Contributing: Associated Press
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