NewsLocal News


California regulators vote to eventually phase out gas-powered cars

Posted at 10:35 PM, Aug 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-26 01:38:35-04

California regulators passed sweeping new regulations on Thursday that will eventually phase out gas-powered cars.

The Golden State will require all new cars, trucks and SUVs to be electric or hydrogen-powered by 2035.

“It’s a game changer for California. It sets the state on an accelerated course towards zero-emission cars, pickups and SUVs,” said Liane Randolph, chair of the California Air Resources Board.

California regulators on Thursday adopted the strictest regulations in the world--mandating a full transition to zero-emission vehicles by the year 2035.

“The regulations apply only to auto manufacturers, not dealers and pertain to the sale of new cars,” said Jennifer Gress, chief of the Sustainable Transportation and Communities Division at the California Air Resources Board. “They don’t impact vehicles which are already on the road which will still be legal to own and drive.”

Under the state’s plan, 35 percent of new cars are required to be electric starting in 2026. That jumps to 68 percent in 2030 then 100 percent in 2035.

Right now, around 16 percent of new car sales are electric.

“I feel like everyone kind of knew that’s where we were headed but hearing that it’s by 2035--even though that’s far away-- I just don’t know if that gives enough time for backlash and for people to be able to accept it and change,” said Cal Poly Student Mia Perez.

The switch to electric would require a 15-fold increase in charging stations statewide as well as a more robust and reliable power grid.

“With the rolling brownouts and the problems that we’ve been having-- it’ll be very interesting to see if California can build the infrastructure to support all-electric,” said Chris Wesney, general manager at McCarthy’s.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation says the switch will be challenging for the auto industry which is already making major investments to produce electric cars.

“California today is about 18 percent EV (electric vehicle) share. Despite this positive trend, California’s mandates are still very aggressive and will be extremely challenging. That’s just a fact,” said John Bozzella, President and CEO of the group in a statement.

“I think it’s something that we’ve been expecting to happen for a while. Everything changes these days. It seems like change is the new normal,” said David Idell, general manager at Sunset Honda in San Luis Obispo.

Sunset Honda is embracing the new regulations and plans to make an early switch to all-electric.

“We’re expecting to have a full line-up of electrification by 2030, so definitely in time for the mandate,” added Idell.

Used car dealerships, on the other hand, will be allowed to sell gas-powered cars for the foreseeable future…

“It’s interesting-- San Luis already has a pretty large demographic of people driving hybrids and electrics,” said Wesney. “If our customers want electric, we’ll provide electric. If they want classics or gas-powered vehicles, we’ll be happy to provide that as well.”

Others say they might make the switch the electric sooner than expected.

“I don’t know that many people with electric cars right now so I’d probably wait until it’s more of a trend which I guess could be sooner than I thought,” said Perez.

If the policy works as intended, California could cut vehicle emissions in half by 2040.

New car dealerships will still be allowed to sell hybrids after 2035--up to 20 percent of inventory.