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California Will Phase Out Gas Powered Cars by 2035

Sept. 6, 2022
As California and other states work to reduce the number of gas-powered vehicles on the road, auto manufacturers are funneling more investment into their EV programs.

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Recognizing his state’s leadership role on the zero-emission transportation front, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that will effectively phase out gas-powered cars in California by 2035. By that time, 100% of all new passenger cars and trucks will have to be zero-emission in order to be sold and operated within state lines.

Advanced Clean Cars II Regulations (Resolution 22-12) states that the California Air Resources Board (CARB)—one of six boards, departments or offices under the umbrella of the California Environmental Protection Agency—will now develop the regulations that have to be put in place in order to achieve this goal.

The zero-emissions goal is more attainable than ever, according to CARB, which highlights these industry trends as proof:

  • ·Manufacturers continue to invest heavily in zero-emission technology in response to California’s ZEV (zero-emission vehicle) regulations and international regulations, leading to technology improvements that have resulted in lower-cost batteries and other ZEV componentry.
  • These investments have “enabled nearly every manufacturer to accelerate plans to bring to market more long-range ZEVs in more market segments and highly-capable PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles),” CARB points out.
  • Manufacturers are moving to dedicated battery-electric vehicle platforms, which allow integration of the battery pack entirely within the vehicle floor structure to reduce vehicle weight, reduce manufacturing costs, and increase available passenger and cargo volume, according to CARB.
  • Nearly every light-duty vehicle manufacturer has made commitments to electrify their product line in a significant way, as demonstrated to CARB by confidential manufacturer projections received through mid-2021.

Also, CARB says 74% of California drivers report having some interest in the ZEV market, with 40% considering purchasing a ZEV for their next vehicle. And, by the end of 2021, “California had 60 ZEV and PHEV models in the market and had surpassed 1 million cumulative ZEVs and PHEVs sold, leading the U.S. in ZEV sales,” CARB points out.

A Two-and-a-Half Year Journey

California’s ban on gas-powered cars first emerged in 2020, when Newsom announced his intention to “aggressively move the state further away from its reliance on climate change-causing fossil fuels.” Stating that this can be done while retaining and creating jobs, and spurring economic growth, he issued the executive order that recently became law.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” said Newsom in a press release. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”

According to WSJ, the signed executive order didn’t receive much formal opposition, with companies like GM signaling their support. “Still, auto industry lobbying groups cautioned that the target remained extremely difficult to achieve,” the publication reports, “noting that many factors, including the build-out of EV charging networks and availability of raw materials needed to make batteries, affect how quickly new car sales can realistically go fully electric.”

California isn’t Alone

Other states are either enacting or considering similar bans on new gas-powered vehicles.

For example, ABC News reports that Washington’s state legislature has already committed to adopting rules to implement California’s emission standards; Oregon is moving forward with a proposed rule similar to California's Advanced Clean Cars II regulation; and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a sweeping climate bill into law that includes mandating that all new cars sold in the state be zero-emission starting in 2035.

Individual automakers are also making deeper forays into the EV category, with Toyota recently announcing its intention to spend $5.6 billion to expand EV battery capacity, WSJ reports.

Nearly half of Toyota’s investment will go toward scaling up production at a plant it’s building in North Carolina and about $3 billion will be invested in plants in Japan as well as a facility operated by Prime Planet Energy & Solutions Co., a joint venture of Toyota and Panasonic Holdings Corp.

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About the Author

Bridget McCrea | Contributing Writer | Supply Chain Connect

Bridget McCrea is a freelance writer who covers business and technology for various publications.