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Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (Photo: Governor.virginia.gov)

Virginia Becomes First State To Drop California’s Vehicle Emissions Standards and Gas Car Ban

‘Virginia is declaring independence – this time from a misguided electric vehicle mandate imposed by unelected leaders nearly 3,000 miles away’

By Evan Symon, June 5, 2024 1:17 pm

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin announced on Wednesday that Virginia would no longer be a part of California’s vehicle emissions standards, including California’s 2035 goal of banning gas-powered cars from being sold in the state.

The California 2035 ban, first announced by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020 and made official by the state in 2022, is staggered over the next 11 years. According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) plan, 35% of all new cars sold in California in 2026 are to to be electric or hybrids, with the amount climbing to 68% by 2030, and 100% by 2035. Following California’s official 2022 announcement, many other states quickly joined California either due to quick acting state legislatures or trigger laws that would bind them to standards in the Golden state. New York was the first to follow California, creating their own California style 2035 zero emission vehicle law in September 2022.

By May 2024, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia, all set in similar gas-powered sale bans. In addition, both Connecticut and Maine are also close to adopting the standards, with Colorado, Delaware, Minnesota, and New Mexico all adopting partial standards. Conversely, some states outright rejected California’s 2035 law, with some, such as Wyoming, actually introducing legislation trying to ban the sale of electric cars instead.

In the case of Virginia, they have been following California’s emissions plans since 2021, when state officials decided to follow California’s emissions policies, which are stricter than the federal EPA standards. However, the election of Governor Youngkin in 2022, as well an increase in GOP lawmakers elected in the state since 2021, resulted in Virginia questioning the emissions regulations. Youngkin has signaled recently that California’s regulations take away the consumers freedom to choose what kid of car they want. The Virginia GOP specifically said that the gas-powered ban is too extremist and that Republicans needed to be elected in to undo the damage.

With state regulations expected to ramp up soon to have 22% of all car sales be electric in 2025, and current regulations set to expire at the end of the year, Youngkin took action, and on Wednesday, announced the end of the California electric vehicle mandate in Virginia.

“Once again, Virginia is declaring independence – this time from a misguided electric vehicle mandate imposed by unelected leaders nearly 3,000 miles away from the Commonwealth,” said Youngkin in a statement on Wednesday. “The idea that government should tell people what kind of car they can or can’t purchase is fundamentally wrong. Virginians deserve the freedom to choose which vehicles best fit the needs of their families and businesses. The law is clear, and I am proud to announce Virginians will no longer be forced to live under this out-of-touch policy.”

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares added, “Today, I’ve issued an official Attorney General Opinion that confirms that Virginians are no longer legally bound to follow the emission standards of California. EV mandates like California’s are unworkable and out of touch with reality, and thankfully the law does not bind us to their regulations. California does not control which cars Virginians buy and any thoughts that automobile manufacturers should face millions of dollars in civil penalties rather than allowing our citizens to choose their own vehicles is completely absurd.”

While Virginia is now in the process of exiting the agreement, nothing is yet finalized. Youngkin has set for the state to leave the California 2035 standards by the end of the year. However, state legislators in Virginia said on Wednesday that they would be fighting the Governor on this.

“The decision is reckless, illegal and unconstitutional,” said Democratic Virginia Senate Majority Leader Scott Surovell. “Working with a legislature that has a different political orientation can be challenging, but we fought a war in 1776 to ensure that an executive would never have the power to nullify laws by press conference.”

Virginia to end 2035 gas powered car sales ban mandate

California lawmakers, including 2035 gas powered vehicle ban proponent Governor Newsom, have yet to comment on Virginia’s decision as of Wednesday morning. However, those in the auto industry noted that while Virginia seems to be pulling away, few other states that have signed on with California’s regulations have signaled that they want out as well.

“If you look at the list of states that followed California, or are looking to, Virginia was the only swing-state there,” Michigan-based auto industry analyst Kevin Pullman told the Globe on Wednesday. “If any of those states was going to pull out, it would be Virginia thanks to the GOP coming back into power in the state after 2022.

“I’m not sure if any states will follow at least immediately, but Virginia has also now set a precedent. Not everyone has to follow California, and can stop at any time. Outside of the West and Northeast, we won’t see this pop up too much. But what Virginia did is big. States can decide to get out of the 2035 mandate. Even California can end it if they wanted to. It is not only possible to get out of it, but it is now being done. That is something that supporters of the plan did not want. Newsom hasn’t said anything on this yet, but you can bet that he is at least a little bit furious at states now dropping out of his mandate. Electric cars are the future, but that 2035 date is cutting it close for many, with many states not even having the infrastructure to support a lot of electric cars yet. And many states are looking at slower rollouts or situations where both can be sold.:

“Many states had already though that California’s mandate wasn’t so great, and now we have the first drop out.”

California lawmakers are expected to give announcements on Virginia’s decision later today.

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7 thoughts on “Virginia Becomes First State To Drop California’s Vehicle Emissions Standards and Gas Car Ban

  1. GREAT to see independent RATIONAL thought taking the lead, and God Bless Gov. Youngkin for taking the step…
    Hopefully this will embolden other RATIONAL leaders to take a stand and tell Newsom and his CARB minions to POUND SAND!!!

  2. Virginia Republican Gov. Youngkin has set for the state to leave the California 2035 standards by the end of the year but not surprisingly Democrats like Virginia Senate Majority Leader Scott Surovell vow to fight it in every way? No doubt Virginia Democrats are getting payoffs from nefarious sources to push this EV and climate nonsense just like Democrats in California probably are?

  3. I’m a Dem in California… We need to end Newsome!!!

    Her has destroyed this state!!!! Gas use Good!!!

  4. how would this stupid mandate even work? how do you force someone to buy something? the only way they could try to do it is limit ice sales, which I’m sure would get manufacturers and consumers riled up.

  5. I applaud the Globe ! Keep the Fool politicians feet to the fire! Ca. is removing 5 Dams & adding another ? Meanwhile the removals are killing ALL LIFE and sending toxic sludge to the Pacific, great for down-stream towns and now no salmon. ” Stupid & Dummer ” Oh ! Think about the water supply or forest manaagement or lack of ! Sorry , I probably missed a few pertinent topics. Value Your Vote !

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