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California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday that will ban the sale of gas and diesel-powered passenger vehicles in the state by 2035, in the most aggressive legislation to fight climate change taken by any state in the U.S.
The executive order requires all new passenger vehicles sold in California to be zero-emission, which includes battery-powered electric cars, vehicles that run on hydrogen fuel cells, and plug-in hybrids that still use some gasoline or diesel in addition to electricity.
The decision is likely to face pushback from the Trump administration, who is already battling California in court over the state’s authority to set auto emissions rules that are more strict than current federal standards, though at least four major car manufacturers have agreed to California’s tougher restrictions.
Under the new order, residents would still be able to own gas-powered vehicles, and sell them on the used-car market.
Transportation causes over 40% of the greenhouse gasses emitted in California, more than any other sector—and the state says banning new gas-powered cars and trucks could drop greenhouse gas emissions by 35%.
Similar legislation has been taken up 15 countries, including the U.K., France and Germany.
“For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. You deserve to have a car that doesn’t give your 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,” Newsom said in a statement.
Newsom also said he would ask the state legislature to ban fracking, a controversial natural gas extraction method, by 2024.
Republican state Sen. Shannon Grove called the executive order “legislative malpractice” in a tweet, adding “the Governor continues to alter the course of our states history by executive order without the approval of the California Legislature.” The 2020 California legislative session adjourned on Aug. 31.
California has a long history of promoting zero-emission vehicles. In 2012, Former Gov. Jerry Brown ordered state agencies to work toward a goal of putting 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on California roadways by 2025. In 2015, he signed a non-binding agreement with 12 other North American and European governments, with the goal of making all new passenger vehicles sold in California zero-emission by 2050, according to the Sacramento Bee. California already has the country’s biggest market for electric vehicles, with about 750,000 currently on the road. Newsom’s announcement comes amid devastating wildfires that have been burning across California for over a month and have taken at least 25 lives.
California to ban sale of new gas-only cars in 2035 under Newsom order (San Francisco Chronicle)
California Banning Sales Of New Gasoline Cars In The State By 2035 (Forbes)