California is pressing the Biden administration to restore the state’s ability to set its own emissions standards and put a 2035 end date on ICE sales.
As several other countries, particularly in Europe, push to phase out internal combustion engines from new vehicle sales, California’s two current U.S. senators are urging the White House to deploy a similar strategy for America. According to a new Reuters report, Democratic senators Alex Padilla and Diane Feinstein sent a letter imploring the Biden administration to set an end date on ICE-powered vehicle sales. Specifically, they urged Biden to “follow California’s lead and set a date by which all new cars and passenger trucks sold be zero-emission vehicles.”
The state, for its part, set a target in 2035 to go completely electric. Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order ordering CARB (California Air Resources Board) to phase out internal combustion no later than that date.
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“We believe the national baseline should, at an absolute minimum, be built around the technical lead set by companies that voluntarily advanced their agreements with California,” Padilla went on. In the midst of rollbacks to fuel economy standards under the Trump administration, automakers including Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen reach a deal with the state that fell in between the standards set by the Obama administration and the later rollbacks.
Upon taking office in January, Biden ordered federal agencies to revisit fuel economy standards by July 2021. He also said the administration would replace 650,000 vehicles with clean, American-made electric vehicles, an effort to boost EV adoption and create or sustain manufacturing jobs. The EPA will likely revisit the 2019 decision to strip California of its authority to set its own emissions standards, but the White House did not comment on any announcement pertaining to reinstating that authority at this time.
Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia adhere to California’s emissions standards, which covers roughly 40% of the U.S. population.