California will ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035

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Flickr/Wally Gobetz

One day after reports claimed the U.K. will ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks by 2030, California Governor Gavin Newsom revealed a similar plan, issuing an executive order that limits new car sales to zero-emissions vehicles starting in 2035. Newsom, whose state is in the midst of its worst-ever wildfire season, says the plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat global warming.

“This is the next big global industry,” Newsom said, referring to EVs and other clean-energy technology, “and California wants to dominate it.”

The governor’s directive would affect only new-vehicle sales, meaning that gasoline-powered automobiles would remain legal to drive, own, and sell.

With England’s recent announcement, 15 countries have revealed plans to phase out the sale of new gas-powered vehicles. California is the first U.S. state to do so.

Transportation is California’s largest source of planet-warming emissions, accounting for roughly 40 percent of the state’s greenhouse gases from human activity. California accounts for about 11 percent of all U.S. vehicle sales, more than any other state.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” Newsom said in a statement. “… You deserve to have a car that doesn’t give your kids asthma … Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”

In addition to the all-out ban of new gasoline-powered vehicles in 2035, Newsom also urged the California legislature, by 2024, to stop issuing new permits that allow the use of hydraulic fracturing technology for oil and gas drilling.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will develop regulations to mandate the ban of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks while allowing battery-powered or hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Don Anair, deputy director of the clean vehicles program at the Union of Concerned Scientists advocacy group, told The New York Times that California faces an enormous challenge to completely convert new-vehicle sales to clean energy in only 15 years. Last year, only about 8 percent of the nearly two million passenger vehicles sold statewide were battery-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, The Times reported.

“It’s feasible,” Adair said, “but it’s going to take California pulling all the levers at its disposal.”

Not surprisingly, Governor Newsom’s plan is a political lightning rod as Americans head to the polls November 3. President Donald Trump has sought to bar California from mandating EV sales; rival Joe Biden intends to accelerate EV adoption with substantial government funding.

Hagerty will continue to champion all forms of car and truck enthusiasm.

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