California took its next step toward cutting emissions in the state Wednesday, as governor Gavin Newsom issued an order banning gasoline-powered car and truck sales in 2035. As new electric cars join the market, officials including Newsom aim to speed their adoption by drivers statewide.
“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” Newsom said in his statement. “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.”
To that end, the order compels the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to enact a new mandate. Under that mandate, 100 percent of in-state new sales of passenger cars and trucks will be zero-emissions vehicles. The state aims to achieve a 35 percent greenhouse gas reduction and an 80 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions with this decision. The order does extend to medium and heavy-duty vehicles as well: They shall be 100 percent zero emission by 2045, where feasible. Drayage trucks, such as those used to move cargo around at ports, fall under the 2035 deadline.
The state of California said in its release that it’s joining 15 countries in its commitment to bar gasoline car and truck sales. Many of those countries are in Europe, such as the United Kingdom and Germany. California currently represents 11 percent of the total new car market in the United States, so it aims to use that market share to accelerate EV adoption.
While the order prohibits new gasoline-powered vehicle sales in the state, it does not prohibit California residents from owning these vehicles outright or selling them on the used market. Despite that, time will tell whether the order will see a challenge in state courts.
Newsom’s executive action orders several state agencies to develop near-term plans for transitioning to sustainable transportation by 2021.