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California Governor Newsom Signs Order Banning New Gas-Fueled Cars by 2035

New Lexus automobiles for sale after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state will ban the sale of new gasoline powered passenger cars and trucks starting in 2035 in Carlsbad, Calif., September 23, 2020. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an order on Wednesday that aims to end the sale of new internal combustion engine cars in the state by 2035.

The order, which directs the California Air Resources Board to craft a phase-out plan that would ultimately require 100 percent zero-emissions personal use and dryage vehicles in the next 15 years, is an attempt to push consumers in the nation’s largest car market toward electric vehicles in hopes of reducing emissions that most scientists say contribute to climate change.

Other agencies will be directed to help create zero-emission vehicle charging stations, and the order will also mandate medium- and heavy-duty trucks to be zero-emission by 2045 where feasible.

“Of all the simultaneous crises that we face as a state…none is more forceful than the issue of the climate crisis,” Newsom said. “What we’re advancing here today is a strategy to address that crisis head on, to be as bold as the problem is big.”

Fifteen countries have implemented similar policies, while nine states, including New York, currently follow California’s ZEV standards.

The Newsom administration estimates the move would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 percent. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Tuesday that it would take an estimated 15 years of all-electric sales to eliminate most internal combustion engine cars from the road. Zero emissions vehicles include battery-electrics as well as vehicles that run on hydrogen fuel cells. 

Roughly 156,000 electric cars were sold in California in 2019, according to the Sacramento Bee.

“Pull away from the gas pumps,” Newsom said. “Let us no longer be victims of geopolitical dictators that manipulate global supply chains and global markets.”

After 2035, consumers would still be able to purchase used gas vehicles in the state.

California and the Trump administration have repeatedly clashed over the state’s ability to set its own emissions rules, as granted through waivers provided by the federal Clean Air Act.

The Democratic governor has also been at odds with Republicans over the historic wildfires that have plagued the state this year, setting more than 3.6 million acres ablaze. Newsom has blamed climate change for the fires, while Republicans have pushed for better forest management practices in the state.

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