California Will Ban New Gas-Powered Car Sales by 2035

California is not just the most populated state in the US but, fittingly, also a state with, perhaps, the biggest car-centered focus in the country. Unfortunately, this also means that their fossil fuel use is a major contributor to the escalating climate crisis.

To address this, then, the California Air Resources Board issued a new guideline that aims to transition to all drivers to electric vehicles by banning gasoline-powered vehicles in 2035. The aim is to expedite the production of “greener” vehicles, starting in 2026, until the state can transition to sales of only zero-emission vehicles across the state.

California Governor Gavin Newsom set an original target to shift away from traditional internal combustion engines in 2020. This effort focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state, by targeting their largest polluting contributors: the transportation sector.

Not surprisingly, Alliance for Automotive Innovation CEO John Bozzella argues that it will be “extremely challenging” for automakers to meet California’s mandate. He comments that fulfilling these requirements is affected by a number of external factors, including inflation, of course, but also charging and fuel infrastructure, labor, supply chain complications, pricing, and critical mineral availability. Of course, various industries continue to be affected by the semiconductor shortage.

In a statement, he specifically notes that “Whether or not these requirements are realistic or achievable is directly linked to …. complex, intertwined and global issues.”

Of course, environmental groups are praising this decision, although it seems they do not all agree on the guidelines: some believe the climate crisis is urgent enough to warrant tougher targets. As a matter of fact, some groups have previously urged the board to enforce a goal of 100 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2030, which is five years earlier than the enacted regulation.

For example, Climate Law Institute attorney Scott Hochber—of the Center for Biological Diversity—jests, “This rule needed to match the urgency of the climate crisis and instead leaves Californians making sputtering progress in the slow lane.”

Hochber goes on to say, “California needs to act strongly on gas-powered cars—instead of ignoring them and shift to EVs much sooner—or watch our climate our climate stability slip away.”