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Executive Order Puts Gas-Powered Vehicle Manufacturers on Notice

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Manufacturers hoping to sell vehicles in California will have to get serious in their efforts to improve the efficiency and cost of electric vehicles. According to an executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday, sale of new gas-powered passenger vehicles will be banned in the state after 2035. Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will have until 2045 “where feasible.”

Newsom’s office said the order would result in a 35 percent reduction of greenhouse emissions — about half of the state’s greenhouse gases are attributed to vehicle transportation. While the state was already moving toward a 2045 carbon-free goal, this year’s massive wildfires have put the issue of climate change under a spotlight. Saying state leadership must “deliver more than platitudes”, Newsom sees the move to electric vehicles as a path to eliminating fossil fuel dependence.

An executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020 will phase out gasoline-powered passenger vehicle sales in California by 2035. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

In a statement issued by the governor’s office Wednesday, Newsom said:

“For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”

The California Air Resources Board is now tasked with developing regulations to pull off the zero-emission mandate, which at this point would be a first in the nation. Fifteen countries have committed to doing away with gas-powered vehicles — the U.S. as a whole is not one of them.

According to the governor’s office, upfront purchase price for electric vehicles should “reach parity” with conventional vehicles within a matter of years. If the long-term price tag is a factor for consumers, they’ll appreciate that fueling and maintaining electric vehicles cost substantially less per mile compared to the gassed-up counterparts.  

The ban does not prohibit people from owning conventional passenger vehicles or buying them on the used market after 2035.

Electric vehicle charging stations will become a more common sight as California prepares to ban new gas-powered passenger vehicle sales by 2035. (Photo by Joenomias/Pixabay)

In support of the pending change, Newsom is directing state agencies to dive into development of integrated rail and transit systems and to bolster projects supporting bicyclists and pedestrians. Low-income and disadvantaged communities will take priority for those directives, the statement said.  

The order also tackles health and safety regulations meant to protect workers and communities from impacts associated with oil extraction and asks the state Legislature to stop issuing hydraulic fracturing (fracking) permits by 2024.

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.