California Bans Gas-Powered Cars | Citizens Against Government Waste

California Bans Gas-Powered Cars

The WasteWatcher

In a move that will have significant ramifications across the United States, the California Air Resources Board implemented a regulation that will require all new cars sold in the state to be free from fossil fuel emissions by 2035.  Under the rule, car manufacturers will have to significantly increase the number of electric vehicles they make beginning in 2026.  While new cars cannot run on gas, those that are in the possession of consumers in 2035 can still use gas and used cars that run on gas can still be sold.  The board’s August 25, 2022, decision comes two years after Governor Gavin Newsom (D) issued an executive order banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.

California was given a waiver for certain requirements under the Clean Air Act, enabling the state to implement stricter requirements than the rest of the country.  Under current California regulations, 12 percent of cars sold in the state must be fossil fuel free.  The new rule mandates an increase in sales to 35 percent by 2026 and 68 percent by 2030 before reaching 100 percent in 2035.  Notably, the new California standard goes beyond the nationwide goals established by the Biden administration, which called for, but did not require, half of the nation’s vehicle sales to be all electric by 2030. 

Like other onerous regulations and laws in California, the no gas requirement will negatively impact consumers who have never stepped foot in the Golden State, let alone bought a car there.  For instance, automakers will be forced to adjust the kinds of cars they build and sell in other states.  Given California’s status as the largest state in the Union by population, a ban on gas powered cars will have a significant ripple effect.

Other states are either required to follow California’s lead by law or will adopt the same requirements based on their overall approach to similar issues.  The Commonwealth of Virginia adopted legislation in February 2021 that would mirror the state’s automotive emissions laws to whatever is done in California.  While Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) said the law is binding, he agreed with Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) that it should be repealed, as Virginia should not be doing anything that makes the state more like California. 

Several other states have also begun to lay the foundation for adopting their own California-style restrictions on gas powered vehicles.  According to an August 25, 2022, Associated Press article, 17 states have some or all of the same rules governing emissions as California, and Washington and Massachusetts are already fully on board with the ban.  Consequently, a minority of states banding together, or even one large state like California, will be able to force consumers in other states into submission to the Green New Deal regime.  

Electric vehicles currently make up only 6 percent of all auto sales nationwide.  Moving to a ban on gas-powered cars will be a radical change that will require “at least 15 times more vehicle chargers nationwide, a more robust energy grid and vehicles that people of all income levels can afford.” 

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk reacted to California’s announcement by noting that the U.S currently lacks the capacity to move to 100 percent renewable energy.  Although Musk calls for a sustainable future, he recognizes the reason for the short-term calls on the continued use of oil and gas “because otherwise civilization will crumble.”  California and the states that are adopting its standards should take note when the CEO of one of the largest electric vehicle manufacturers observes the limitations of our current technology.  States should base their policy decisions on reality, not out of touch utopian dreams.

California’s efforts to force its residents to purchase costly electric vehicles contorts the marketplace for vehicles and imposes ideological goals over the needs of American consumers.  Not only are electric vehicles unaffordable for most middle and lower-income families, but this policy will also increase the cost of used gas-powered cars before 2035. 

In the coming decade, consumers who have never set foot in the Golden State will be forced to adhere to another onerous restriction implemented by the state, this time by the 14 unelected voting members of the California Air Resources Board.