California Governor Gavin Newsom, last week, issued an executive order to restrict new car sales in the state to only zero-emission vehicles by 2035. Under the Order, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) would implement the phase-out of new gas-powered cars and light trucks and also require medium and heavy-duty trucks to be zero-emission by 2045, where possible. With the Order, California becomes the first state in the U.S. to mandate 100% zero-emission vehicles.
The Order is yet another example of California’s aggressive efforts to cut carbon emissions. It is likely to increase tensions with the Trump administration which has challenged a variety of California’s environmental regulations.
Under current regulations, CARB requires automakers to produce and deliver for sale electric, fuel cell and other zero-emission vehicles in increasing percentages through 2025. But previous efforts to completely phase out gas-powered cars have not gained traction and it is unclear how manufacturers will respond to Governor Newsom’s Order.
The Governor feels his Order will help spur greater innovation for zero-emission vehicles and, by creating a huge market, will drive down the cost of alternatively-fueled cars and trucks. California accounts for nearly 10% of U.S. new car and truck sales, with 1.63 million expected to be sold in 2020.