SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California will cease sales of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks through 2035, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday. He says this will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 35% in the country’s most populous state.
The proposed rule would not prohibit people from owning gas-powered cars or selling them on the used car market. But it would end the sales of all new gasoline-powered cars and trucks in the state by nearly 40 million people.
“Get away from the pumps,” Newsom said. “Let us stop being victims of geopolitical dictators manipulating global supply chains and global markets.”
California and the dozen or so states that follow its auto emissions standards make up a significant portion of the US auto market. This is having a huge impact on the US auto industry, as well as long-term efforts against pollution and climate change that is fueled by fossil fuel emissions. It is also likely that President Donald Trump will encounter opposition, who wants to reverse stricter Obama-era auto emissions standards and is fighting California to enforce compliance with those standards.
California already has regulations that require a certain percentage of new vehicle sales to be electric or zero-emission vehicles. This rule, if implemented, would make California the first US state to plan to phase it out completely.
At least 15 other countries have already made similar commitments, including Germany, France and Norway.
Newsom’s mandate directs the California Air Resources Board to develop and approve regulations to meet the 2035 deadline. He also ordered them to enact a rule requiring all medium and heavy trucks to be 100% emission free vehicles by 2045 “where feasible”.
Newsom also directed state agencies to speed up charging station development across the state, and urged lawmakers to remove new fracking licenses by 2024.
Fracking is a technique that enables energy companies to extract huge amounts of oil and gas from shale rock deep underground. High-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals are injected into the rock. Opponents of fracking say the chemicals involved pose a threat to water supplies and public health.
Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, described Newsom’s order as “a big step,” but said it provided “rhetoric rather than real action on the other critical half of the climate problem – California’s dirty oil production.” .
“Newsom cannot claim climate leadership while granting drilling and fracking permits to oil companies,” she said. “He has the power to protect Californians from pollution by the oil industry and he has to use it, not give the money.”
California has set a goal to be 100% clean, renewable energy by 2045. Gasoline and diesel powered cars and trucks are the biggest obstacle to achieving this goal as they account for more than half of the state’s carbon footprint.
The order comes as massive forest fires burned a record 14,500 square kilometers in California this year. Experts say the size and intensity of the fires are aided by warmer temperatures and years of drought due to climate change.