Governor Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 – as well as additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector.
The transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California’s carbon pollution, 80% of smog-forming pollution and 95% of toxic diesel emissions – communities in the Los Angeles Basin and Central Valley see some of the dirtiest and most toxic air in the country.
“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” says Newsom. “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.”
Following the order, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will develop regulations to mandate that 100% of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035 – a target which would achieve more than a 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80% improvement in oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide. In addition, CARB will develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to be 100% zero-emission by 2045 where feasible – with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks.
To ensure needed infrastructure to support zero-emission vehicles, the order requires state agencies, in partnership with the private sector, to accelerate deployment of affordable fueling and charging options. It also requires the support of new and used zero-emission vehicle markets to provide broad access to zero-emission vehicles for all Californians. The executive order will not prevent Californians from owning gasoline-powered cars or selling them on the used car market.
By the time the new rule goes into effect, zero-emission vehicles will almost certainly be cheaper and better than the traditional fossil fuel-powered cars. The upfront cost of electric vehicles is projected to reach parity with conventional vehicles in just a matter of years, and the cost of owning the car – both in maintenance and how much it costs to power the car mile for mile – is far less than a fossil fuel burning vehicle.
The executive order sets clear deliverables for new health and safety regulations that protect workers and communities from the impacts of oil extraction. It supports companies that transition their upstream and downstream oil production operations to cleaner alternatives. It also directs the state to make sure taxpayers are not stuck with the bill to safely close and remediate former oil fields. To protect the health and safety of his communities and workers, Newsom is also asking the legislature to end the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024.
The executive order directs state agencies to develop strategies for an integrated, statewide rail and transit network and incorporate safe and accessible infrastructure into projects to support bicycle and pedestrian options, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities.
The text of Newsom’s executive order can be found here.