California to Ban the Sale of New Gasoline Cars

WASHINGTON — California is expected to take effect on Thursday, its sweeping plan to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035, a groundbreaking move that could have a major impact on efforts to combat the virus. climate change and accelerate the global transition to electric vehicles.

“This is very powerful,” said Margo Oge, an electric vehicle expert who led the Environmental Protection Agency’s transportation emissions program under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. great. “California will now be the only government in the world to mandate zero-emission vehicles. It is unique.”

The rule issued by the California Air Resources Board would require that 100% of new cars sold in the state by 2035 emit zero emissions of the fossil fuels primarily responsible for global warming, up from the current rate. 12% today. It sets interim targets requiring that 35 percent of new passenger cars sold in the state by 2026 produce zero emissions. This number will increase to 68% by 2030.

These restrictions are important because not only is California the largest auto market in the United States, but more than a dozen other states often follow California’s lead when it comes to setting their own auto emissions standards. .

“The climate crisis is solvable if we focus on the big, bold steps needed to stem the tide of carbon pollution,” Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, said in a statement.

California’s actions come first new climate law extension that President Biden signed last week. The act would invest $370 billion in spending and tax credits for clean energy programs, the largest action ever taken by the federal government to combat climate change. Enactment of that law is expected to help the United States cut emissions by 40% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade. Still, it won’t be enough to eliminate US emissions by 2050, a goal climate scientists say all major economies must achieve if the world is to avert catastrophic impacts. and the deadliest of climate change.

To help bridge the gap, White House officials have vowed to combine the bill with new regulations, including on emissions from car exhausts. They also say that reducing emissions enough to be in line with science will also require aggressive state policies.

Experts say California’s new regulation, in both rigor and reach, could rival Washington’s law as one of the world’s most important climate change policies and could help cut significantly reduce the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions. The new rule is also expected to impact new policies in Washington and around the world to promote electric vehicles and cut automotive pollution.

At least 12 other states are likely to adopt California’s new zero-emission vehicle regulation relatively soon; Five other states, under California’s broader vehicle pollution reduction program, are expected to adopt the regulation for a year or so. If those states are passed, restrictions on the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles would apply to about a third of the U.S. auto market.

That would have a big impact on tackling climate change, as emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles are the nation’s top source of warming greenhouse gas pollution.

John Bozzella, president of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents major U.S. and foreign automakers, said California’s new electric vehicle sales mandate will be “extremely difficult” to response. “Whether these requirements are realistic or achievable is directly related to external factors such as inflation, fuel and charging infrastructure, supply chains, labor,” said Bozzella. , critical mineral availability and pricing, and ongoing semiconductor shortages,” Bozzella said by email.

He said automakers want to see more electric vehicles on the road, but called on the state and federal government to do more to address issues like the ability to extract important minerals like lithium. and cobalt in the United States, electric vehicle affordability, and equitable access to fast charging.

The governments of Canada, Britain and at least nine other European countries – including France, Spain and Denmark – have set a target of phasing out the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles between 2030 and 2040. But no Is there any country that has a specific regulation or regulation like California. rule.

“This regulation will set a global high water mark for the rapid transition to electric vehicles,” said Drew Kodjak, executive director of the International Council on Clean Transport, a research organization.

In Washington, President Biden last year signed an executive order calling on the government to work to ensure that half of the cars sold in the United States is electricity by 2030, up from 6% today, although the order has no legally binding effect.

Mr. Biden has also sought to enact federal policies to scale up the nation’s use of electric vehicles. The new climate spending bill includes $14 billion in tax incentives for new and used electric car buyers. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency restore and strengthen a little an Obama-era fuel economy rule that has been pushed aside by the Trump administration. It requires passenger vehicles to travel 55 miles per gallon by 2026, from just under 40 miles per gallon today.

That national regulation is much less ambitious than the California one set to go into effect this week, but the Biden administration has allowed California to push ahead with its ambitious policy: It restores the immunities of the Ethics. The Clean Air Act gives California the legal authority to establish automobile pollution and mileage. stricter rules than federal standards, an aggressive climate policy that was halted by former President Donald J. Trump.

That administration allowed California to enact the new regulation. Once in effect, the California rule is expected to affect a new federal standard that the EPA is expected to introduce next year, encouraging automakers to build and sell more vehicles. more electricity.

But there has been stiff legal opposition to those plans.

The attorney generals of 17 Republican-led states sued to revoke California’s immunity, which would overturn the new policy. The case, which will be heard before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, is considered the nation’s second most powerful bench after the Supreme Court. Oral arguments are yet to be scheduled.

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