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California Governor Bans the Sale of Cars and Trucks with Internal Combustion Engines after 2035

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued an executive order (EO) banning the sale of gasoline-powered passenger vehicles in 2035.

Newsom’s September 23 directive, requires all new passenger vehicles sold in the state be “zero-emission by 2035,” and orders California’s Air Resources Board to develop regulations to ensure that “all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100 percent zero emission by 2045 where feasible.” As a result of Newsom’s EO the only new passenger vehicles sold in California after 2035 would be electric vehicles.

Under Newsom’s EO, owners of existing gasoline powered vehicles would still be allowed to keep, maintain, register, and sell their cars and trucks, and be able to buy and sell used cars, however, dealerships would not be allowed to sell any new cars that produce air emissions during operation.

Cites Existing Authority

Newsome’s gasoline powered vehicle ban is likely to draw lawsuits challenging it since it was enacted through an executive order, not legislation passed by California’s legislature.

Anticipating challenges, Newsome, when announcing the ban, said he was acting under authority given the governor under laws enacted in 2017 and 2018, directing the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to assess California’s infrastructure to help the state reach the goal of having 5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030, and establishing a State Air Resources Board and authorizing it the to set regulations to reduce emissions.

“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.

“Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma,” said Newsom. “Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air, cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”

‘Silly … Unrealistic and Pointless’

Cars don’t cause asthma or climate change so Newsom’s EO will do nothing to prevent either, said Steve Milloy, a former Trump/Pence EPA transition team member, founder of JunkScience.com, and a member of the board of directors of The Heartland Institute, to Tyler O’Neil writing for PJ Media.

“Nothing that comes out of a tailpipe causes or triggers asthma,” said Milloy. “[Newsom’s order] as silly as it is unrealistic and pointless.

Replacing gasoline-power cars with electric vehicles in California would require, among other things, global cobalt production to increase by 133 percent and global copper production to increase by 33 percent,” Milloy told PJ Media. “In return, the weather would remain the same.”

Making a Bad Situation Worse

Newsome’s EO comes at a time when California is decommissioning coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants and replacing them with inherently intermittent and variable wind and solar generated power, a policy Newsome himself admitted in August had resulted in widespread rolling blackouts in each of the past two summers.

If future California politicians actually allow Newsom’s ban on gasoline vehicles to be enforced, they will make an existing bad situation worse for a state already suffering power shortages, said James Taylor, president of The Heartland Institute, in a press release.

“This is a classic example of politicians seeking short-term political gain by imposing impossible requirements on future residents and politicians,” Taylor said. “California’s wind and solar power cannot keep its power grid functioning reliably even at current demand levels.

“Adding tremendous new strain to the grid by requiring electrification of California cars will bring the entire grid crashing down,” Taylor continued. “With eight-hours required to charge an electric car battery, Californians will soon be longing for the nightmare gasoline lines of the Jimmy Carter era; all future California automobiles will have to come with portable cots or sleeping bags for use while people wait to charge their cars.”

Meteorologists Anthony Watts, a senior fellow with The Heartland Institute, also notes Newsom’s order ignores California’s recent experience with energy shortages by requiring ever more electric power demand, now for transportation.

“Newsom, ignoring the hard lessons of this past summer where the heavily solar and wind reliant California electric grid had to force rolling blackouts to prevent collapse, now adds the prospect of millions of additional electric vehicle kilowatt-hours charging from the grid,” Watts said. “Even a grade-schooler can figure out that solar energy doesn’t work at night, when most electric vehicles will be charging, so where does Newsom think all this extra electric power is going to come from? California’s ‘Green New Train Wreck’ looms large on the horizon.”

Order Will Cost Jobs

California’s Republican Party said Newsom’s EO ending the use of gasoline powered vehicles will result thousands of jobs being lost, even as the state is already experiencing record high unemployment.

“Governor Gavin Newsom’s failure to lead California was on full display today as he talked about eliminating over 350,000 good-paying jobs in our oil and gas industry, while ignoring the millions of already unemployed Californians and the tens of thousands of shuttered businesses,” Jessica Millan Patterson, chairwoman of the California Republican Party, said in a statement.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. (hsburnett@heartland.org) is the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

H. Sterling Burnett
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

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