The California Air Resources Board on Thursday will vote on a measure that would ban new gasoline car sales by 2035, and if passed, it would be the first of its kind worldwide.
The proposed rules would establish quotas on zero-emission vehicles, focusing on new models with 35 percent of new vehicles sold in California, and calls for zero-emissions sales to account for 68 percent of total sales by 2030.
Californians can drive gas-powered vehicles and sell used ones under the proposal, but the restrictions apply to new model cars. CARB announced its proposed plan in April, following a Sept. 2020 executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom to phase out gas-fueled cars to drastically reduce demand for fossil fuels in California’s push for more electric and zero-emission sales in the next few years.
“Emissions from motor vehicle engines hurt public health, welfare, the environment, and the climate in multiple interrelated ways. Reducing emissions of one kind support reducing emissions of others and contributes to decreasing the severity of their impacts,” reads the proposal.
California is the largest auto market in the U.S., which will likely influence the auto industry, according to the New York Times, which first reported on the topic. According to the outlet, roughly a third of the United States automotive market is likely to adopt California's new zero-emissions targets.
The board’s quota would increase every year, expected to reach 51% of all new car sales in 2028, 68 percent in 2030, and 100 percent in 2035, according to the proposal. The quotas also would allow 20 percent of zero-emission cars sold to be plug-in hybrids.
Electric vehicles make up 12.4 percent of new car sales in 2021, while it was at 7.8 percent in 2020, according to CARB. The South Coast and San Joaquin Valley air basins are the only two regions in the country classified as ‘Extreme’—the worst category—for nonattainment of the federal ozone standard of 70 parts per billion (ppb).
“As the climate warms, ozone becomes harder to control and more particulate matter is released from wildfires. Reducing the emissions that cause climate change will lead to greater reductions in ozone from the efforts to reduce the pollutants that cause it, which are primarily oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and hydrocarbons (HC) from fuel combustion. These emission reductions will help stabilize the climate and reduce the risk of severe drought and wildfire and its consequent fine particulate matter pollution," CARB reports.