California is ready to drag the rest of the US into the EV age

California is about to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles. | Getty

California is poised to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles — a far-reaching policy that is likely to reverberate throughout the rest of the country and the world.

On Thursday, the California Air Resources Board will issue the new rules that were first rolled out by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020, which would require 100 percent of new cars sold in the state to be free of carbon emissions, according to The New York Times.

— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) August 24, 2022

California’s stance on new car sales is extremely consequential given the state’s status as a standard bearer for clean air regulations. To date, 14 other states have adopted its progressive zero-emission vehicle program for passenger vehicles, which was launched in the early 1990s and has spurred automakers to develop hybrid and fully electric cars. California is also one of the largest markets for car sales in the world, with nearly 15 million registered vehicles on the road and 1.85 million new vehicle registrations in 2021.

If those states follow California in setting similar rules banning the sale of new gas vehicles, then one-third of the US auto market could potentially shift to zero-tailpipe emission vehicles only.

one requiring all commercial trucks and vans sold in the state to be zero emission starting in 2045 and another requiring only the sale of zero-emission passenger vehicles by 2035. Last year, Newsom signed into law a bill that would require all light-duty autonomous vehicles to emit zero emissions starting in 2030.

It will be interesting to see how California’s rules overlap with the Inflation Reduction Act’s climate provisions, especially new tax credits that are aimed at incentivizing EV sales and the domestic supply chain.

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