US West Coast state to join 15 nations that have set similar goals in order to fight climate change.
California plans to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks starting in 2035 in a dramatic move to shift to electric vehicles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Governor Gavin Newsom has said.
Newsom told a press conference on Wednesday that the most populous state in the United States was committing to a “firm goal” to phase out the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 and was encouraging other states to take similar action.
Newsom’s order labelled the elimination of gasoline-powered vehicles a “goal” and a “target” after his office said earlier that his order would require the sale of nothing but zero-emission passenger vehicles starting in 2035.
The move would be the most significant to date by a US state aimed at ending the use of internal combustion engines for passenger travel.
California is the largest US auto market, accounting for about 11 percent of all US vehicle sales, and many states choose to adopt its green vehicle mandates.
Newsom also wants the state legislature to stop issuing new permits by 2024 that allow the use of hydraulic fracturing technology for oil and gas drilling.
US President Donald Trump has sought to bar California from requiring the sale of electric vehicles, while his rival Joe Biden has pledged to spend billions to speed the adoption of electric vehicles.
California said it was joining 15 countries that have made similar pledges, including the United Kingdom.
California’s clean vehicle goals have not always come to pass and in some cases have been pushed back.
Newsom said the California Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035, which would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent.
The board also plans to mandate by 2045 that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles be zero-emission where feasible.
Newsom’s executive order does not prevent Californians from owning gasoline-powered cars or selling them on the used car market.
In response to a record wildfire season in the state, Newsom earlier this month said California needed to “fast track” its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. “Across the entire spectrum, our goals are inadequate to the reality we are experiencing,” he said on September 11 while touring a burned area in the state.
A group representing major automakers including General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG said “neither mandates nor bans build successful markets”.
The group noted electrified vehicles account for less than 10 percent of new vehicle sales in California, which is still the highest in the US.
California and nearly two dozen other US states have sued the Trump administration, which has rolled back vehicle-emissions standards from the era of former US President Barack Obama and sought to undo California’s authority to set strict car pollution rules.
The administration has been waging a multi-pronged battle to counter California’s efforts to fight climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from vehicles.