California Considers Ban On Non-Electric Cars

Even though legislation didn't pass for a 100 percent commitment to renewable energy by 2045, California is still looking to lower their carbon emissions. Another potential next step is banning the sales of gas and diesel vehicles by 2030.


May 25 2019, Updated 5:47 a.m. ET

California has been looking moreand more toward the future with renewable energy. Similar to countries like France and China, they’re setting goals to be fueled 100 percent by sustainable sources. Now, like those countries are trying to achieve themselves, the Sunshine State wants to ban to sale of gas altogether.

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According to a Bloomberg interview with California Air Resources Board Chairman, Mary Nichols, the state government is looking into the potential for banning sales of traditional gas and diesel-fueled vehicles. Governor Jerry Brown has been pushing for a change and is hoping to see something happen in the next decade.

“I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’” Nichols said. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.” Nichols also mentioned that she and others believed that sales could be stopped by 2030, adding that “it’s awfully hard to predict any of that with precision, but it doesn’t appear to be out of the question.”

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Other areas around the world, such as the United Kingdom and France, are looking to ban vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2040. China is looking at a decade earlier than that. However, slapping a ban on these cars would be tougher in California. Over two million vehicles were registered in the state just last year, and that’s more than the entire countries of France and Italy. 

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California has the ability to set this rule because they’ve been allowed to create pollution guidelines for their state since the 1970 Clean Air Act was established. However, it requires approval from the Environmental Protection Agency. Since it likely wouldn’t be approved under the current administration, Nichols said they’ll be looking at other ways to approch this movement, such as through vehicle registration.

Banning the sale of ICE vehicles would certainly aid in California’s process to cut 80 percent of carbon dioxide emissions by 2040. Unfortunately, Senate Bill 100 failed to pass earlier this month, which would have required all electricity to come from renewable energy by 2045 in the state. Utility companies lobbied that there wasn’t enough evidence that sustainable sources wouldn’t end up leading to higher rates for consumers. The state is still on pace to reach 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.

While California also has roughly 50 percent of the nation’s EVs, they represent only five percent of new cars sold in the first quarter of 2017. There’s certainly been a gigantic boost in electrified car sales over the years, and that trend will only rapidly grow with the birth of more mass-market options. With many people in California’s government looking to clean the air, it’d be hard not to see some form of ICE vehicle ban or limitation in the near future.

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