California has submitted a request to the Biden administration to approve its groundbreaking plan that would require all new vehicles sold in the state by 2035 to be electric or plug-in electric hybrids, with the aim of phasing out gasoline-powered vehicles, as reported by Reuters on May 23. The California Air Resources Board (CARB), which endorsed the plan in August, has sought a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act to implement the new regulations. These regulations include the introduction of rising yearly targets for zero-emission vehicles starting in 2026 and the cessation of gasoline-only vehicle sales by 2035. CARB emphasized that such vehicles would effectively replace emissions from conventional vehicles, which currently constitute a significant source of pollution in California.
Despite the Biden administration’s reluctance to endorse a specific phase-out date for gasoline vehicles, the EPA has committed to a thorough public process in considering California’s waiver request. The proposal aligns with the EPA’s own April proposal, which outlined ambitious targets for automakers to produce a majority of electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030 and 2032. California’s plan, which sets increasing mandates for zero-emission vehicles, is estimated to reduce smog-causing pollution from light-duty vehicles by 25% by 2037. The rules would require 35% of new car sales to be plug-in hybrid electric vehicles EVs, or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2026, rising to 68% by 2030 and reaching 100% by 2035. While the waiver request highlights the costs involved, projecting USD210.35bn, it also emphasizes the overall benefits amounting to USD301.41bn by 2040.