California Governor Signs Executive Order Halting Gas-Powered Car Sales

Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed an executive order that will end the sale of gas-powered cars in California by 2035. The order will lower greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and reduce the state's reliance on climate change-causing fossil fuels, said the Governor.

Governor Newsom has claimed for months that the large wildfires in the state this year are the result of climate change, and he's pledged from the time he was sworn into office to take aggressive action to address the problem.

"This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change," said Governor Newsom. "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. 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." 

Even though the order requires new cars to be zero-emission in 15 years, Newsom insisted it will not stop you from continue to own your current internal combustion engine-powered cars. It also won't prevent you from selling them on the used car market.

Related state agencies are being directed to work with the private sector to establish affordable fueling and charging options for zero-emission cars.

This new executive order also highlights the ongoing court battle between California and President Trump over the legal authority granted to the state by President Obama to impose stricter rules on vehicles than other states. Trump's administration is trying to take away that authority, claiming the higher standards are too difficult for manufacturers to meet.

The pro-business organization Californians For Affordable and Reliable Energy is taking issue with the order.

"Today, the governor stood in front of electric cars costing more than $50,000 and told millions of unemployed Californians that affordable cars will no longer be available for purchase in just 15 years," said CARE Chairman Rob Lapsley. "From the last publicly available data, true zero-emission vehicle sales accounted for just 5.6 percent of California vehicle sales. Clearly, despite significant incentives and repeated attempts to create a market by regulations from California Air Resources Board over the past three decades, Californians are still not choosing electric vehicles. Costs remain too high, charging infrastructure remains too sporadic and, now, there’s no guarantee there will be reliable electricity available to charge an onslaught of new cars putting even more pressure on the grid."

Republican state Senator Shannon Grove of Bakersfield denounced the Governor's action.

"Californians have had enough with these extremist policies that have forced rolling blackouts, shuttered thousands of businesses, fueled catastrophic wildfires, killed the freelance economy, and beyond," said Grove. "Perhaps Governor Newsom should spend less time pursuing headlines and spend more time on real solutions."

Grove strongly suggested the Governor spend more time managing the state's forests and vegetation instead of banning cars.

Still, Newsom also said Monday that more actions like this one are coming. "We are just getting started," he promised.

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