California to phase out gasoline-powered cars, drastically reduce fossil fuel demand

Following the order, the California Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that 100 per cent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035. APAP photo by Ben Margot.

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 as well as additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector.

According to a press release issued by the Office of Gavin Newsom, the transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California’s carbon pollution, 80 per cent of smog-forming pollution and 95 per cent of toxic diesel emissions.  And as a result, communities in the Los Angeles Basin and Central Valley see some of the dirtiest and most toxic air in the country.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” said Governor Newsom. “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 per cent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035.  This is expected to net a 35 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80 per cent 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 per cent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks.

California will order state agencies, in partnership with the private sector, to accelerate deployment of affordable fuelling and charging options.

While the executive order requires support of new and used zero-emission vehicle markets to provide broad accessibility to zero-emission vehicles for all Californians, it will not prevent Californians from owning gasoline-powered cars or selling them on the used car market.

California will be leading the nation in this effort and will join 15 countries that have already committed to phase out gasoline-powered cars and using our market power to push zero-emission vehicle innovation and drive down costs for everyone.

By the time the new rule goes into effect, zero-emission vehicles are expected to be cheaper than fossil fuel powered cars. The upfront cost of electric vehicles are projected to reach parity with conventional vehicles in just a matter of years, and the cost of owning the car – both in maintenance and how much it costs to power the car mile for mile – is far less than a fossil fuel burning vehicle.

The executive order sets clear deliverables for new health and safety regulations that protect workers and communities from the impacts of oil extraction and it also supports companies who transition their upstream and downstream oil production operations to cleaner alternatives.

As well, the state is to ensure taxpayers are not stuck with the bill to safely close and remediate former oil fields. To protect the health and safety of California communities and workers, the Governor is also asking the Legislature to end the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024.

The sweeping executive order also directs state agencies to develop strategies for an integrated, statewide rail and transit network, and incorporate safe and accessible infrastructure into projects to support bicycle and pedestrian options, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities.



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