California bans new combustion car sales from 2035

Following a similar decision in the European Union, the state of California has announced it’s phasing out new sales of diesel and gasoline cars by 2035, setting aggressive targets along the way. This move will have dramatic effects across the USA.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has long held automakers to stricter emissions standards than those imposed by the US federal government, but when it finalized its vote Thursday on the new Advanced Clean Cars II rule, it threw down a massive challenge to the automotive industry.

Currently, some 16% of new cars and light trucks sold in California are classed as zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs). Under the new ruling, that proportion will leap to 35% by 2026, 51% by 2028, 76% by 2031, and 100% by 2035, after which combustion cars and light trucks will simply be banned from sale altogether.

There’s some little bits of wiggle room; the definition of a ZEV is broad enough to include a percentage of plug-in hybrids, provided that they can go more than 50 miles (80 km) on battery alone, and these won’t be allowed to exceed more than 20% of an automaker’s total ZEV sales. The ban doesn’t affect heavy trucks at this stage. Furthermore, the law doesn’t require combustion car owners to get rid of cars they already own, or stop people from buying or selling used combustion vehicles after 2035.

Indeed, if you absolutely must have that 2036-model F350, it’ll be possible for people to go interstate and buy one there, although many other states –including Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Oregon – have signed on to follow California’s regulations on ZEVs, and Washington has announced its own intentions to ban combustion cars by 2035 as well.

CARB expects this radical and unprecedented move to slash vehicle emissions – the #1 source of anthropogenic carbon emissions – by 50% in 2040, paving the way for a race to zero emissions by 2050. In addition to being a strong action in support of decarbonization, CARB says it expects the air quality improvements will add up to some US$13 billion in health care savings.

Next, to clean up the energy sector that’s going to feed this enormous influx of battery-powered beasts.

Source: CARB

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