As announced by California Governor Gavin Newsom today California will ban new gas-powered car sales by 2035. The goal is to move California consumers into electric vehicles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” Newsom said announcing his executive order. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. You deserve to have a car that doesn’t give your kids asthma… Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”
Part of what is driving the announcements is the record wildfires on the west coast
Another announcement wants the California Legislature to stop issuing new permits for hydraulic fracking at oil and gas drilling sites by 2024. Part of what is driving the two announcements is the record wildfires currently burning up and down the west coast. Newsome has said recently that we need to “fast track” greenhouse gas reductions. “Across the entire spectrum, our goals are inadequate to the reality we are experiencing,” he said on Sept. 11.
Besides the wildfire situation, this is also a reaction to Donald Trump’s multi-pronged attacks on California. Almost two dozen states and California have sued the Trump administration for trying to unwind California’s authority to set stricter pollution standards. All of the states involved in the suit follow California’s rules for pollution restrictions.
California is the largest market for cars, amounting to 11.7% of US vehicle sales. Add to that the 11 other states and the District of Columbia that follow California’s regulations and the number of vehicles sold jumps to over 30%. California will be joining 15 countries like Great Britain that have also announced dates for gas-powered vehicle bans.
Newsom’s administration says half of all air pollution comes from gas-powered vehicles
The California Air Resources Board will write up new regulations for all in-state new car sales including trucks to be 100% zero-emission by 2035. This stage will be completed by July 15, 2021. Newsom’s administration says half of all air pollution in the Los Angeles basin comes from gas-powered vehicles.
The ban will also take in medium- and heavy-duty trucks by 2045. The state has been clamping down on diesel-powered trucks for years. This mandate will start in stages starting in 2024. Californians will still be able to own and sell gas-powered vehicles purchased before 2035. But no new vehicle sales will be allowed after 2035.
This will pretty much leave electric- and hydrogen or pedal-powered vehicles as the only transportation of choice. But, as California imports one-third of its electricity from out of state that raises the question of how much of that is produced from burning coal? California itself only generates less than .02% of its electricity from burning coal. That comes from power generated by industrial facilities.
2020 study estimates less than 4% of California’s imported electricity generated by burning coal
Analysts with eia.gov, in a 2020 study estimate that less than 4% of California’s imported electricity is generated by burning coal. That flies in the face of detractors who have said in the past that up to 60% of the imported electricity is from burning coal. In total California uses 77 million megawatt-hours of electricity annually.