California is considering joining France and Great Britain in banning the sale of gas and diesel-powered vehicles.
Governor Jerry Brown has been expressing an interest in banning the sale of internal-combustion engines according to Mary Nichols, chariman of the California Air Resources Board.
“I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’ The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California,” she said to Bloomberg.
As we reported earlier this month, China is also considering a ban on internal combustion engines.
California has set an ambitious goal reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.
“To reach the ambitious levels of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we have to pretty much replace all combustion with some form of renewable energy by 2040 or 2050. We’re looking at that as a method of moving this discussion forward,” said Nichols.
If California was to go forward with this, it would send massive shockwaves in the automotive industry due to the size of state's auto market. Last year, more than 2 million new passenger vehicles were registered, topping countries like France and Spain. Automakers would be under new pressure on making EVs the standard.
But that doesn't mean California will have an easy time with this. While the state has the authority of writing its own pollution rules thanks to the 1970 Clean Air Act, they cannot be enacted with getting waivers from the EPA. With the Trump administration going on record that it would challenge California on any new environmental act, the state is looking for alternative ways to get what they want.
“We certainly wouldn’t expect to get a waiver for that from EPA. I think we would be looking at using some of our other authorities to get to that result,” said Nichols.
Nichols did say it will be a long time before something like this is implemented.
“There are people who believe, including who work for me, that you could stop all sales of new internal-combustion cars by 2030. Some people say 2035, some people say 2040. It’s awfully hard to predict any of that with precision, but it doesn’t appear to be out of the question.”