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Reaction to California governor's ban on sales of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035

"The biggest problem when it comes to climate change is the pollution that comes from our cars and trucks," said Environment California Director Dan Jacobson.

CALIFORNIA, USA — Governor Gavin Newsom made a big announcement Wednesday regarding gasoline-powered vehicles, signing an executive order that bans new sales of them by 2035.

Residents can still use gas-powered vehicles and can sell them in the used vehicle market. 

Governor Newsom said it's an effort to combat climate change. Director of Environment California, Dan Jacobson, calls this a big first step. 

"That's a historic step when we look at 'How do we stave off the worst effects of climate change?'" he said.

"We put so much carbon into the air. I think everyone would agree the wildfires, to the heatwaves, the droughts, mudslides, sea-level rise, they're really more than anybody can afford to continue to suffer through," said Jacobson.

Car dealership owner Henry Hansel of Hansel Auto Group in the Bay Area said he's on board with the governor's decision. However, he wonders: Will electric vehicles be affordable?

"At the end of the day, it's the consumer that's going to make the decision," said Hansel. "Because if these cars are too expensive, they won't buy them and if they don't buy them they're gonna keep their gas guzzlers and then guess what? It's counterproductive."

The California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA), which represents nearly 1,200 franchised new car and truck dealers in California, said it's concerned the state is not prepared for this. It released this statement:

While we greatly respect the Governor’s ambition and emphasis on California leading the fight to combat climate change, we have many unanswered questions about fundamental components of his Executive Order to ban the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035, including the implications on consumers and the state’s preparedness to take on such a directive.

“Foremost, if the policy is ultimately adopted, this will transform how Californians move about our state.  Such a significant public policy change and drastic shift in how Californians operate every single day requires addressing, upfront, critical elements to how this directive will be met including:

  • Consumer Adoption: Despite California leading the US in Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) market share, adoption is limited to the wealthy and represents a fraction of the 2 million new passenger and light-duty vehicles sold annually. 
  • Consumer Affordability: ZEVs are thousands of dollars more expensive than comparable gasoline powered vehicles, if they are available at all.
  • Infrastructure: California lacks the charging infrastructure—and the financial plan to achieve it—needed to support this mass shift in transportation needs.
  • Mandates vs. Goals: Banning new non-ZEV vehicles and limiting choice, even 15 years from now, is significantly more difficult than striving to achieve the goals the Governor has set forth.
  • Current Standards Are Not Being Met: We already have aspirations about how many ZEVs are supposed to be on the road in California, yet we are currently falling short of those goals. 

“Additionally, bypassing the elected Legislature and directing the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to adopt rules to prohibit the sale of non-ZEV vehicles to enact this significant transportation policy change is deeply troubling and deprives Californians of a direct voice in this important issue.

“While we support the state’s goals to combat climate change, there are many questions and factors that need to be thoughtfully considered and addressed before implementing such a mandate on consumers.” 

Cathy Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association issued the following statement:

“We have to understand how this could work It is interesting that the governor was standing in front of nearly $200,000 worth of electric vehicles as he told Californians that their reliable and affordable cars and trucks would soon be unwelcome in our state. Big and bold ideas are only better if they are affordable for us all and can be backed by science, data and the needed infrastructure. There are many questions about all of those concerns in the Governor’s orders.”

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