New cars sold in California must be zero-emissions by 2035 at the latest, according to a text passed Thursday in the state at the forefront of the country’s energy transition efforts.
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“Rapidly increasing the number of zero-emission vehicles on our streets and highways will dramatically reduce emissions and pollution for all Californians,” said Liane Randolph, president of the California Office of Quality, in a statement from Air (CARB), which approved the measure.
The text, which will effectively ban the sale of new diesel or gasoline cars by 2035, formalizes targets set in September 2020 by the state’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.
By 2026, one-third of California’s auto sales will be zero-emission vehicles, meaning vehicles that run on electricity, hydrogen and certain hybrid vehicles, and two-thirds of sales by 2030.
“The timeline is ambitious but achievable: by the time a child born this year is college-age, only zero-emission vehicles and a limited number of new-vehicle plug-in hybrids will be available for sale in California,” CARB noted.
The bureau also estimates that the new standard will result in a 25 percent reduction in haze in light commercial vehicles by 2037.
“This will benefit all Californians, but especially the most economically and environmentally stressed communities along freeways and other busy thoroughfares,” added CARB.
CARB also argues that the new rules will prevent 1,290 deaths from 2026 to 2040, mainly from heart and lung diseases.
The state’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom welcomed the passage of the measure. The reduction in the number of polluting vehicles on the road is equivalent to “emissions caused by 915 million barrels of oil”.
California is the largest market in the United States, with more than 40 million consumers, and its standards impact manufacturing across the country.
General Motors had already announced in January 2021 that it no longer wanted to build cars with pollutant emissions by 2035, even if the group had not openly committed to only offering electric vehicles in 13 years.
The move in California comes as President Joe Biden last week signed a sweeping climate and health investment plan that includes a $370 billion package to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.
In recent years, many countries have attempted to limit pollution from the automotive sector.
The UK, Singapore and Israel have committed to ending sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, and Norway has made that commitment for 2025.
According to scientists, human activities, particularly the use of fossil fuels, have led to global warming, which in turn has helped make extreme weather events more frequent and severe.
Therefore, one of the solutions to combat this global warming is to limit pollutant emissions from fossil fuels, say the experts.