California Moves to Ban Sale of New Gas Cars by 2035

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
california moves to ban sale of new gas cars by 2035

California governor Gavin Newsom has signed an executive order that will ban the sale of new cars that are gasoline-powered, beginning in the year 2035.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” Newsom said in a statement. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. You deserve to have a car that doesn’t give your kids asthma… Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”

He is also asking the state legislature to stop issuing new permits for fracking by 2024.

California is the largest market for cars and trucks in the U.S., accounting for 11 percent of sales. Other states often follow California’s lead on emissions regs.

All this comes right before an election in which the incumbent, Republican President Donald Trump, has tried to prevent California from making electric-vehicle sales a requirement, while challenger Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, has said he’d pour money into the quicker adoption of EVs.

Fifteen countries, including Britain, have introduced similar measures.

Newsom wants that California Air Resources Board (CARB) to work on regulations that will make sure 100 percent of in-state new car and truck sales will be of zero-emission vehicles, which he claims will cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 35 percent.

The board is further expected to require that medium- and heavy-duty vehicle emissions will also be zero, where feasible, by 2045.

California residents would not be prevented from owning gas-powered cars under the order, nor would they be prevented from selling such vehicles on the used-car market.

Newsom has said the state needs to increase its efforts to fight greenhouse gasses and climate change in the wake of devastating wildfires, and the state, along with almost 24 others, has been suing the Trump administration, which wants to takeaway California’s ability to set its own pollution rules and to rollback nationwide emissions standards.

For our part, we’re skeptical of this order, even if the intent is good. We’re all for reducing emissions (at least I am, I can’t speak for all of us at this site), but 15 years seems an unrealistic timeline, given the small share of the market occupied by EVs. The pace of development isn’t slow, to be sure, but it might not be as fast as Newsom would like, no matter what the New York Times or Elon Musk say.

There’s also messy realities to consider. Does this mean no more sports cars or heavy-duty pickups in California, unless they’re electric? Or do cars that sell in relative small numbers get an exemption? What happens if EV adoption is slow? What happens if automakers struggle to build EVs at scale at an affordable price and/or with good real-world range? What if charging infrastructure isn’t able to scale? Hasn’t California had a difficult time providing electricity to customers in recent years – can the state keep up with demand if everyone is charging EVs all the time?

Will this create two markets for cars – California and the other 49 states? That would upset the automakers, for sure.

All of these challenges could, in theory, be addressed by then. And the market could shift on its own accord before 2035, as the Times argued.

Personally, I think this is just a way to try to get the automakers – whether legacy like GM, niche like Tesla, or startup like Lucid – to speed up EV development even more. Something all these companies are already working on, and with haste.

It may also be cynical political rhetoric from a politician who may have his sights set on higher office at a time when the effects of climate change are hitting Americans – especially Californians – particularly hard. From wildfires to hurricanes, a lot of people are dealing with natural disasters.

I said it just yesterday – EVs likely will dominate the market at some point. Maybe even by 2035. But getting there will be a bumpy road, and not nearly as neatly as an executive order would make it seem.

[Image: NadyGinzburg/]

Join the conversation
2 of 91 comments
  • Pwrwrench Pwrwrench on Sep 25, 2020

    That's why they had "Cash For Clunkers" and continuing assistance for low income people to get their cars to pass the emission test. The slaves need to get to their place of work.

  • GenesisCoupe380GT GenesisCoupe380GT on Sep 27, 2020

    California deserves to not have a treehugging crybaby for a governor

  • Jeanbaptiste Any variant of “pizza” flavored combos. I only eat these on car trips and they are just my special gut wrenching treat.
  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.