California to approve plan to ban gas-powered car sales by 2035 | California

California is set to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035 as the state takes dramatic steps to reduce emissions and tackle the climate emergency.

In a vote on Thursday, state regulators are expected to approve a plan to phase out the sale of gas-powered cars over the next 13 years in the largest U.S. auto market. The decision is hailed as a major victory that could pave the way for others.

“It’s monumental,” Daniel Sperling, a member of the California Air Resources Board (Carb), told CNN. “It’s the most important thing Carb has done in the past 30 years. It’s important not just for California, but it’s important for the country and the world.

The vote comes two years after state governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring the sale of new cars to be zero emissions.

In 2021, just 12% of new cars sold in California were zero-emissions, according to Carb, although about 16% of cars sold in the first three months of this year were electric. The new rule would require the state to reach 35% of sales by 2026, 68% by 2030, and 100% by 2035. It wouldn’t affect cars that are already on the road.

The measure, which Sperling said he was almost certain to pass, will be among the first of its kind and serve as an example for other states that often look to California when setting their own standards. Sperling told CNN the proposal faces “surprisingly little debate” and resistance from automakers, which have ramped up production of electric vehicles. General Motors has announced its intention to sell only electric vehicles by 2035.

But at a June Carb meeting, some auto companies said the timing of the state’s transition to electric vehicles would be difficult for the industry.

“There are real challenges in meeting consumer demand for affordability and ease of charging, while overcoming global supply chain disruptions and limited access to critical minerals,” he said. said David Barker of North American Subaru. “And all of those challenges are magnified for smaller manufacturers like Subaru.”

The Automotive Innovation Alliance, which represents many major automakers, said it would be difficult to meet the state’s ambitious schedule due to lack of charging infrastructure, access to necessary materials batteries and supply chain issues.

“These are complex, interrelated and global issues far beyond the control of either [Carb] or the automotive industry,” said John Bozzella, Group Chairman.

More than half of California’s carbon pollution comes from the transportation sector, Newsom pointed out. when announcing his decree in 2020. The governor hailed the plan as a crucial step in addressing the climate emergency, which has fueled costly and destructive natural disasters in the state.

“This is the most impactful action our state can take to address climate change,” Newsom said at the time. “California people shouldn’t have to worry if our cars give our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse and create more smoky-air days. Cars should not melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.

A light blue Chevrolet Bolt sits at a charging station in a mall.
California, which has about 80,000 public charging stations, will need to expand them to cope with the rise of electric vehicles. Photography: Godofredo A Vasquez/AP

Research has shown that a transition to electric cars would have substantial effects in the United States, where transportation is the biggest contributor to the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. A report published earlier this year by the American Lung Association revealed that the United States could save 110,000 American lives, $1.2 billion in public health costs and reduce greenhouse gases by 92% by 2050 if they traded gas-powered vehicles for zero-emission cars.

Despite Thursday’s vote, California’s transition to electric vehicles will take time as gas-powered cars will outnumber zero-emission vehicles for years. Gas-powered vehicles purchased today are expected to stay on the road for decades. A 2020 study found that the United States should have transitioned to electric-only vehicle sales in 2020 if it was to have an all-electric fleet by 2050.

“There’s a tremendous amount of inertia in the system to overcome,” said Abdullah Alarfaj, a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University and the study’s lead author. New York Times.

California will need to expand public charging stations to accommodate the rise in electric vehicles. The state has about 80,000 stations in public places, far fewer than the 250,000 it wants by 2025, which will increase demand on the California network.

“It will be a transformational process and the vehicle sales mandate is just one part of that,” said Mary Nichols, the former president of Carb.

Environmental groups have welcomed the state’s new rules while urging officials to ensure electric vehicle accessibility.

“California is once again leading the way by setting common-sense standards that will transition sales of all zero-emission cars and light trucks in the state. Given its unique air pollution issues and risks to residents from climate-fueled wildfires, California desperately needs these rules to reduce tailpipe pollution,” said Kathy Harris. , clean vehicle advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“But this cannot be the last step: Heads of state must build on this action to ensure that traditionally marginalized communities benefit from the transition to clean vehicles.”

California and the federal government offer rebates to offset the cost of purchasing electric cars. New state rules encourage automakers to make used electric vehicles available to low- and middle-income people, but some experts say California hasn’t done enough.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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