- Leire Sales
- BBC World correspondent in Los Angeles
August 25, 2022
California has become the first state in the United States to limit the sale of gasoline-powered cars.
The measure was approved this Thursday by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the state body in charge of combating environmental pollution.
And states that from 2035 all new cars sold will have to be electric or hybrid models.
The objective of the measure is to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the next two decades and those who promoted it are already talking that it will mean a revolution in the country’s automotive industry.
And it is that California is a great market for the sector, with 29 million registered vehicles.
The measure still needs the green light from federal authorities, but it is something that is taken for granted considering the environmental agenda of the Biden administration.
Gov. Gavin Newson, who proposed the initiative two years ago and asked CARB to come up with a detailed plan, has called it “bold and innovative.”
“This is a historic moment for California, for our partner states and for the world,” CARB President Liane Randolp said in a pre-vote appearance.
The measure will be implemented gradually.
A) Yes, by 2026, 35% of new cars will have to be zero emissions, a percentage that should increase to reach 68% by 2030 and 100% in five more years.
Manufacturers who fail to comply could face fines of up to $20,000 per unit, according to CARB.
Cars of this type have already been gaining popularity in recent years in the state.
While in 2012 only 2% of the cars sold were electric, by 2018 they already constituted 7% of new vehicle sales.
And today the percentage of non-polluting vehicles reaches 16%, with a total of 1.13 million registered in the state, including electric and plug-in hybrids. It is 43% of all vehicles of this type that exist nationwide.
It is also an overall upward trend in the country. According to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, 4.4% of all new cars sold in the US are electric, the highest percentage to date.
Now, with the new measure, the Californian authorities prevent thatwith the plan, for 2040 the emissions of greenhouse gases are cut in half.
They also hope to cut emissions of nitrogen dioxide, which plays a crucial role in the formation of smogby 25% by 2037.
Car exhaust is California’s largest source of carbon dioxide and in 2019 accounted for 40% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
Although the ban does not imply that by 2035 gasoline cars will cease to exist in the state.
The measure will apply only to new cars, trucks and SUVs. It will remain legal to drive internal combustion engine vehicles, buy them on the used market or in another state.
For this reason, some environmental groups have dismissed the measure as unambitious.
“It’s not as strict as it could have been,” said Regina Hsu, a lawyer at Earthjustice, a nonprofit organization dedicated to litigating environmental cases.
The states of Washington and Massachusetts have already said they will follow California’s lead on the matter, and others are expected to follow suit. And it is that there are several states, including New York and Pennsylvania, which have adopted some or all of the emissions standards established by California so far, more restrictive than the federal ones.
But although unprecedented in the US, California’s It is not the first initiative of this type at the international level.
The European Parliament backed a plan in June to ban the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles in all 27 EU countries by 2035.
And Canada also has a mandate to achieve the target by that same date.
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