A new executive order was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom that will require all automobiles sold in California to be zero-emissions or electric by 2035.
Many were shocked by the announcement on Wednesday due to the fact that California birthed U.S. car culture and has the fifth-largest economy in the world.
What It Is
Combustion engines on California roads account for more greenhouse emissions than any other source. After a record-breaking wildfire season along with recent years of drought and heat waves, the state is looking to reduce their carbon footprint to keep its residents and businesses safe.
When announcing his executive order, Newsom stated, “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. You deserve to have a car that doesn’t give your kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air.”
The California Air Resources board will develop regulations to ensure that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the state will either be zero-emissions or electric by 2035 under the new order. Medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles will have until 2045 to be zero-emissions. While emissions from residential, industrial, and agricultural practices are a problem, the emissions from transportation outpace them even when combined.
What It Means
The order pertains to the purchase of new vehicles. It will not prevent citizens in California from owning gas-powered cars, buying them outside of the state, or selling used cars that use gasoline.
California has been the leader in fuel efficiency standards. The District of Columbia and thirteen other states currently follow the standards that California has set. This newest decision could have a ripple effect across the country. Additionally, California is a leading market for many automobile producers. This means that ramped up production for the state could result in more electric and zero-emissions cars being produced outside California.
Karl Brauer, a veteran auto industry analyst who currently serves as the executive analyst for the iSeeCars website, spoke on the order. “We’ve seen this before where California does something, and others jump on board,” he observed. He went on to note that the automobile industry has been working quickly to shift toward electrification and autonomous vehicles.
Currently, California is the leading market for hybrid and electric vehicles. The sales in the state account for more than half of the entire sales throughout the United States. In 2018, there were a total of 256,800 registrants for electric cars, according to data available from the Energy Department. However, zero-emissions vehicles only had 10% of sales in the state while gas-powered vehicles made up 75% of the state’s total sales.