California’s emissions regulations have been among the strictest in the world for decades. Now California’s Governor Gavin Newsom has added to this with an Executive Order. From 2035 onwards, only so-called zero-emission vehicles will be allowed to be sold in California. This effectively bans the sale of gasoline, diesel, natural gas and plug-in hybrids from 2035. This applies to passenger cars, trucks and buses.
The transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California’s carbon pollution, 80 percent of smog-forming pollution and 95 percent of toxic diesel emissions – all while communities in the Los Angeles Basin and Central Valley see some of the dirtiest and most toxic air in the country.
California was particularly hard hit by climate change this month, with the largest and most forest fires in the state’s recorded history. Large areas were covered by yellowish-orange ash clouds that took days to clear.
Following the order, the California Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035 – a target which would achieve more than a 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80 percent improvement in oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide. In addition, the Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100 percent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks.
To ensure needed infrastructure to support zero-emission vehicles, the order requires state agencies, in partnership with the private sector, to accelerate deployment of affordable fueling and charging options. It also requires support of new and used zero-emission vehicle markets to provide broad accessibility to zero-emission vehicles for all Californians. The executive order will not prevent Californians from owning gasoline-powered cars or selling them on the used car market.
This article was also published in German.