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California Governor Aims to Ban Gas Cars by 2035

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On the hood of a red Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed a new directive to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles in the State by 2035. The orders infrastructure will be decided by the California Air Resources Board, allowing only zero-emission cars to be sold in the State by that year. But what does this mean for California drivers in general?

Over the next year we can expect more details on the actual rules and regulations designed by the Air Resources Board. Most likely, consumers will only be able to purchase new passenger vehicles that emit zero emissions. With that type of classification, it is anticipated that electric vehicles - such as Tesla's or Chevy Volts' - will dominate the highways by 2035.

Per Newsom's plan, any new car producing tailpipe emissions, including hybrids, is off-limits for sale after 2035. California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols on Wednesday noted that the evolution of hybrid vehicles has reached closer and closer to zero emissions and predicts this 15-year anticipation period will give automakers enough time to adapt.

An influx in electric vehicles will certainly require a larger infrastructure to support charging those vehicles, both for charging stations and home charging. But there is currently no specific plan addressing this. Others are concerned over the accessibility of charging stations in rural areas, as well as cost implications of electric vehicles for residents in low-income areas.

While the legality of this new order remains to be seen, Newsom's administration certainly thinks so. Even the air resources board enacted a similar rule in June, mandating all new trucks sold in the State were required to be net-zero emissions by 2045. Naturally, this order can only do so much. Unilateral executive orders can be more difficult to defend in court and are more at risk of being overturned than legislative actions.

Newsom's intent on this order is clear, as studies show ever-increasing levels of greenhouse gases leading to increased temperatures, rising sea levels, severe weather events and unpredictable precipitation. Something clearly must be done to address this environmental crisis we have experienced in recent years. California estimates that moving to zero-emission cars will decrease total greenhouse gas emissions by 35%, which is also expected to reduce noxious gas emissions by 80%.

This is great news for environmental activists, but it is clear this administration needs to dedicate the next 15 years to creating an infrastructure supporting the energy demands, as well as planning on alternatives for low-income/rural residents. Who knows, by 2035 countless other states with high emission-levels could follow the path of banning non-electric vehicles. What do you think?

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