California To Cut Engine-Powered Vehicles By 2035

By Mike Brezonick23 September 2020

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced that he will aggressively move the state away from fossil fuels, issuing an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 and additional measures to eliminate emissions from the transportation sector.

The transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California’s carbon emissions, the governor’s office said, along with 80% of smog-forming pollution and 95% of diesel emissions.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” said Newsom. “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.”

Following the order, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will develop regulations to mandate that 100% of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035 – a target which would achieve more than a 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80% improvement in oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide, the governor said.

In addition, CARB will develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100% 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.

The executive order sets clear deliverables for new health and safety regulations that protect workers and communities from the impacts of oil extraction. It supports companies who transition their upstream and downstream oil production operations to cleaner alternatives. The governor is also asking the legislature to end the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024.

The executive order directs state agencies to develop strategies for an integrated, statewide rail and transit network, and incorporate safe and accessible infrastructure into projects to support bicycle and pedestrian options, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

The text of today’s executive order can be found here.

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