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California bans sale of (new) gas vehicles starting 2035

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If we’re going to get a hold on climate change, governments need to take clear action towards preventing harmful emissions. Today, California Governor Gavin Newsom tried to do just that, by issuing an executive order that effectively bans the sale of new gas and diesel vehicles by 2035.

Considering 2035 is quite some time away and that executive orders could theoretically be repealed by the next governor(s), it’s more of a symbolic one than one with guaranteed consequences. Still, it’s an important step in the right direction.

Specifically, the order requires the California Air Resources Board to create “passenger vehicle and truck regulations requiring increasing
volumes of new zero-emission vehicles sold in the State towards
the target of 100 percent of in-state sales by 2035.” It also asks for medium and heavy-duty vehicles to be zero-emission by 2045 “everywhere feasible.”

[Read more: Are EVs too expensive? Here are 5 common myths, debunked]

To be clear, you’ll still be able to own gas vehicles — you just can’t buy a new model that creates emissions after 2035. That also doesn’t bar you from purchasing an older car with an internal combustion engine after 2035.

Notably, it’s the first such move by a US state, although certainly not the first such action globally. The UK, for instance, originally banned gas-powered cars by 2040, but then pushed it up to 2035. Norway has a ban on gas vehicles due as soon as 2025 — over half of that country’s new vehicle sales are already electric.

The move is expected to cut emissions in the state by 35 percent. Hopefully, other states will follow suit soon — or you know, the entire country. You can read the executive order in full here.

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Published September 23, 2020 — 19:57 UTC