California on Thursday moved to require all new vehicles sold in the state by 2035 to be either battery electric, hydrogen or plug-in electric hybrids, a landmark move that could speed the end of gasoline-powered vehicles.
“This is a historic moment for California, for our partner states and for the world as we set forth a path toward a zero emission future,” said Liane Randolph, who heads the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Steve Douglas, a vice president at the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade association representing General Motors, Volkswagen AG, Toyota and other automakers, said on Thursday the CARB rules “are the most sweeping and transformative regulations in the history of the automobile.”
Here, at a glance, are facts about the new rules:
— California: Gov. Gavin Newsom first announced the plan back in September 2020 to phase out vehicles that run only on gasoline by 2035. CARB voted on Thursday to approve the new rules.
— The federal government: The Biden administration must still approve the new requirements before the plan can take effect. California has moved faster than the federal government and other states in setting strict standards for vehicle emissions. Federal vehicle emissions rules currently extend only to 2026 and do not set yearly requirements for zero-emission models. The White House and EPA did not immediately comment on California’s move. President Joe Biden has previously declined to back setting a firm date to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles. The EPA is currently working on the next round of U.S. emissions limits through at least 2030.
— Other states: Seventeen U.S. states have agreed to adopt California’s previous tailpipe emissions rules and 15 have backed its zero-emission vehicle requirements. They can be expected to follow suit on this one. On Thursday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted that his state would set a similar ban by the end of the year.
— The desired effect: California expects that by 2037 the rules will cut by 25% smog-causing pollution from light-duty vehicles.
— A series of goals: The rules mandate that 35% of new cars sold be plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV), EVs or hydrogen fuel cell by 2026. That proportion will rise to 68% by 2030 and 100% by 2035.
— By 2030, there will be 2.9 million fewer new purely gas-powered vehicles sold, widening to 9.5 million fewer conventional vehicles sold by 2035, CARB said.
— Tesla wanted a faster route to all-electric sales. Tesla, which produces only electric vehicles, said in a July 26 filing to CARB that the board should require 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2030 and increase the stringency of the standard by “reducing the use of polluting PHEVs in annual compliance.” It also sought changes on battery and charging cord requirements.
— Allowing plug-in hybrids, hydrogen: But AAI said the regulations will be “extremely challenging even in California and particularly in the early years.” In a boost to Toyota, CARB’s new regulation would allow automakers to sell up to 20% PHEVs by 2035. Toyota is investing heavily in plug-ins, and agreed earlier this week to recognize California’s authority to set vehicle rules. Hydrogen fuel-cell cars are allow allowed.
— But higher standards there, too: And though CARB’s proposal allows plug-in hybrids, it sets tough new requirements for them. They currently must have at least 10 miles (16.1 km) all-electric range and under the new rules will eventually need a minimum 50-mile all-electric range label to qualify.
— CARB projects that 183,000 out of about 2 million vehicles sold in California in 2035 will be plug-in hybrid.
— Oil companies were not pleased: The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers trade association on Thursday urged President Joe Biden and the Environmental Protection Agency to “reject California’s request for a Clean Air Act waiver to proceed with this unlawful ban.” The group said federal approval “would hand over sweeping federal government authority to California regulators, effectively appointing Governor Newsom and CARB as car and truck czars for the entire United States.”
— More dissenters: A group of 17 other states has challenged the EPA’s decision to restore California’s authority to set emissions rules that was withdrawn under former president Donald Trump.