Will California drivers accept Newsom ban on gas-powered cars?

New car dealers in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon can count on drawing a lot of new customers from California in a few years. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s unilateral decision, announced this week, to tell California drivers they can’t buy new cars with internal combustion engines in 15 years will have a dramatic impact on the marketplace and the economy.That is, if his executive order stands. Whoever is the next governor could undo it. But if the new policy goes forward, and if the legislature goes along, it would obviously have a huge impact on the largest automobile market in the nation, and on California’s long-held love for the cars they drive and the independence they represent.A prominent issue is the cost and affordability for millions of drivers. According to the California New Car Dealers Association, ZEVs, or zero emission vehicles, are significantly more expensive and beyond the reach of many working Californians. The association also says that the state would need to develop a way to pay for the thousands of new recharging stations that would be necessary.“Bypassing the elected legislature and directing the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to adopt rules to prohibit the sale of non-ZEV vehicles to enact this significant transportation policy change is deeply troubling and deprives Californians of a direct voice in this important issue,” said Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association.That is a potent point. Messing with Californians’ cars carries significant political peril. Just ask former Gov. Gray Davis. When he tripled the vehicle license fee, or car tax, in 2003 (technically it was restored to a previous level) to deal with a budget shortfall, it became an enormous liability and one of the factors in the recall election later that year.The governor’s executive order does much more than create uncertainty about transportation and mobility. It also rattles the state’s battered business climate and raises new questions about its competitiveness relative to the other 49 states. California voters have indicated that they care about climate change, and the state has made significant progress with its policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That includes greater emphasis on wind and solar power and a cap-and-trade program that requires polluters to pay to offset that pollution.Newsom’s new mandate on consumers goes far beyond those planning processes, and raises significant questions about practicality and affordability for everyday Californians. Maybe they should be asked what they think about eliminating the choice they have now.Author Kevin Riggs is an Emmy-winning former political reporter for KCRA-TV. He is now the station’s political analyst and is senior vice president at Randle Communications.

New car dealers in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon can count on drawing a lot of new customers from California in a few years. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s unilateral decision, announced this week, to tell California drivers they can’t buy new cars with internal combustion engines in 15 years will have a dramatic impact on the marketplace and the economy.

That is, if his executive order stands. Whoever is the next governor could undo it.

But if the new policy goes forward, and if the legislature goes along, it would obviously have a huge impact on the largest automobile market in the nation, and on California’s long-held love for the cars they drive and the independence they represent.

A prominent issue is the cost and affordability for millions of drivers. According to the California New Car Dealers Association, ZEVs, or zero emission vehicles, are significantly more expensive and beyond the reach of many working Californians. The association also says that the state would need to develop a way to pay for the thousands of new recharging stations that would be necessary.

“Bypassing the elected legislature and directing the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to adopt rules to prohibit the sale of non-ZEV vehicles to enact this significant transportation policy change is deeply troubling and deprives Californians of a direct voice in this important issue,” said Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association.

That is a potent point. Messing with Californians’ cars carries significant political peril. Just ask former Gov. Gray Davis. When he tripled the vehicle license fee, or car tax, in 2003 (technically it was restored to a previous level) to deal with a budget shortfall, it became an enormous liability and one of the factors in the recall election later that year.

The governor’s executive order does much more than create uncertainty about transportation and mobility. It also rattles the state’s battered business climate and raises new questions about its competitiveness relative to the other 49 states.

California voters have indicated that they care about climate change, and the state has made significant progress with its policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That includes greater emphasis on wind and solar power and a cap-and-trade program that requires polluters to pay to offset that pollution.

Newsom’s new mandate on consumers goes far beyond those planning processes, and raises significant questions about practicality and affordability for everyday Californians. Maybe they should be asked what they think about eliminating the choice they have now.

Author Kevin Riggs is an Emmy-winning former political reporter for KCRA-TV. He is now the station’s political analyst and is senior vice president at Randle Communications.

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