California Creeps Closer to Forbidding Sale of New Gas-Powered Cars

Gov. Newsom says eliminating even the option of gasoline engine vehicles by 2035 is one of the “bold steps necessary” for his future vision

California lawmakers are expected to vote Thursday in favor of a proposed ban on the sale of new gasoline-only cars by 2035, the Washington Post reports.

The proposed regulation would set strict deadlines for meeting that goal, legally requiring automakers to drastically step up production of cleaner vehicles by 2026. The requirements, the bill’s proponents dream, would progress exponentially from there until zero-emission passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs—and a token number of plug-in hybrids—are the only rigs on the road by 2035.

The expected approval of the policy by the California Air Resources Board during a scheduled Thursday meeting follows Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2020 push to tidy California’s automotive emissions.

“The climate crisis is solvable if we focus on the big, bold steps necessary to stem the tide of carbon pollution,” Newsom said in a statement.

CARB board member Daniel Sperling told CNN that he is “99.9 percent confident” the motion will pass, and that is “monumental.”

He added, “This is the most important thing that CARB has done in the last 30 years. It’s important not just for California, but it’s important for the country and the world.”

Overall targets include 35 percent of vehicles being sold to be zero-emission by 2026, 58 percent by 2028, 68 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2035.

“This will help to accelerate the transition and give a signal that customers and states are ready for this transition to occur rapidly,” Kathy Harris, clean vehicles and fuels advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Washington Post. “This is a really exciting announcement.”

California’s overall aggressive approach to climate change through the ban of gas cars comes promptly after President Joe Biden signed a climate package outlining similar efforts. Biden’s proposal accelerates the transition to electric vehicles through tax credits for those who buy the vehicles and incentives for carmakers to shift production lines to the U.S.

“Let’s be clear,” Biden said. “In this historic moment, Democrats sided with the American people and every single Republican in the Congress sided with the special interests. Every single Republican, every single one, voted against tackling the climate crisis, against lowering our energy costs, against creating good-paying jobs.”

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