Both Massachusetts and Washington state leaders announced on Friday that they would be adopting California’s new ban on the sale of gas powered vehicles by 2035, beginning a shift that may encompass more states in the coming months.
For the last two years, a ban on gas-powered vehicles in California has been the subject of much debate. First ordered by Governor Newsom in September 2020, California’s staggered plan of requiring 35% of all new cars sold in California in 2026 to be electric or hybrids, 68% by 2030, and 100% by 2035 brought many up in arms. While many car manufacturers were generally in line to do so, many in state and federal government, including the head of the EPA, questioned the decision. However, after gas prices rose to new highs earlier this year nationwide, with Californians seeing amongst the highest in the nation, public and governmental reception warmed.
Despite numerous problems associated with the 2035 plan, including concerns of enough electricity being available to power cars and battery component issues that could potentially make the 2035 plan impossible, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the 2035 plan earlier this week, making national and international news.
“California automobile manufacturers that are forced to comply, all of a sudden, and have to create or decide to create one car or multiple cars for multiple markets,” said Governor Newsom about the 2035 plan. “They’d rather invest in one car one technology and if you get these other 17 states, you’re getting close to over a third of all vehicle sales in the country. Now all of a sudden you’re at a tipping point. And that changes going forward. This is an opportunity that presents itself for all these other governors.”
“It’s ambitious, it’s innovative, it’s the action we must take if we’re serious about leaving this planet better off for future generations. California will continue to lead the revolution towards our zero-emission transportation future.”
California’s approval also enacted trigger laws in both Massachusetts and Washington state, with state leaders announcing on Friday their intention on following the Golden State through. Washington Governor Jay Inslee specifically noted meeting both California’s 2035 plan as well as a plan in Washington to have all vehicles sold by 2030 to be zero emission, with the state to be on board California’s plan by the end of the year.
“This is a critical milestone in our climate fight. Washington set in law a goal for all new car sales to be zero emissions by 2030 and we’re ready to adopt California’s regs by end of this year,” tweeted Governor Inslee on Wednesday. “We look forward to partnering with California and the Biden Administration to quickly eliminate our country’s #1 source of GHG emissions.”
This is a critical milestone in our climate fight. Washington set in law a goal for all new car sales to be zero emissions by 2030 and we’re ready to adopt California’s regs by end of this year. https://t.co/r6jchISD7O
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) August 24, 2022
Lingering issues with California’s 2035 plan
Even with two states immediately joining California and others, such as New York, Oregon, and Hawaii looking at similar measures, many experts note that all states joining, not just California, will need to have ample electricity for the growth of electric cars, and meeting the 2035 deadline, to ultimately work.
“California and other states are looking at real electricity issues in the 2020’s and 2030’s, and having a ton of new electric or hybrid cars on the road isn’t going to help that,” explained Veronica Deer, an auto industry analyst who focuses on the electric market, to the Globe on Friday. “For these new goals to work, we need to see these states really pump up energy production. But we’re seeing nuclear plants being fought over, electric generators going dry, and oil and gas plants being left out while wind, solar and other clean energy means fail to keep up replacing them. Goals for electric cars are good, as it is what we need to do for the environment, but we need to also have goals side by side with energy production in California and other states that put in these goals. Or else we are going to have many new problems pop up.”
Other states are expected to announce soon if they will be following California on their new gas powered car sale ban by 2035 goal.