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What states are banning gas cars?

Other States May Follow California’s Lead in Banning Gas-Powered Cars by 2035

Sarah Kuta

California made history last week by becoming the first state to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved an ambitious phase-out plan that will require all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the Golden State to be electric vehicles (EV) or other zero-emissions models by the middle of the next decade.

California is a trend-setter: Now, other states are likely to follow in its footsteps. In the days since California regulators signed off on the plan, which aims to curb emissions in a bid to halt human-caused climate change, officials in states like Washington, Massachusetts and Virginia have discussed their intentions to implement similar initiatives.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still needs to sign off on California’s plan, but it’s likely to do so, report Coral Davenport, Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer for the New York Times. The new regulations wouldn’t affect any cars that are already owned, nor would they apply to used car sales.

The federal Clean Air Act allows California to set more stringent emissions standards than those implemented by the federal government. Under the law, other states get to choose between rules set by California or those set federally. All told, some 16 states have historically opted to adopt California’s standards and, if all of them follow suit, a gas-powered car ban would apply to roughly a third of the United States’ auto market, per the New York Times.


Washington’s Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted that his state is “ready to adopt California’s regs by the end of this year.” In 2020, legislators passed a law directing the state’s department of ecology to adopt California’s emissions standards as they evolve.

Members of the public will be able to weigh in on Washington’s to-be-determined regulations, reports the Seattle Times’ David Kroman. The state has also committed to reducing vehicle emissions by 68 percent by 2030, and public officials say they still hope to achieve that goal.

“We think of the California regulation as the floor, and we’ve set a new ceiling of trying to get that done by 2030,” Anna Lising, senior climate adviser to Washington’s governor, tells the Seattle Times.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, a climate bill signed into law earlier this month also included a trigger provision that directs the state to follow California’s lead in phasing out gas-powered cars, reports the Boston Globe’s Hiawatha Bray. Now that California officials have approved a plan, Massachusetts regulators can get to work on a similar ban there.

The same is true for Virginia, which also passed a 2021 law aligning its vehicle emissions standards with California, reports the Virginia Mercury’s Sarah Vogelsong.

Officials in New York, Rhode Island and Oregon tell CNN’s Ella Nilsen that they plan to enact a similar ban, while Maryland and New Jersey officials say they’re considering it.

Vehicle plugged in

California’s rules come on the heels of the new federal Inflation Reduction Act, which includes record amounts of funding for measures aimed at halting climate change. Under that law, individuals may be eligible for tax credits up to $4,000 when they buy a used electric vehicle, or up to $7,500 for buying a new one.

Now, EVs account for roughly 5.6 percent of new vehicle sales across the U.S., though that number is much higher—more than 16 percent—in California, which is the largest auto market in the country.

Automakers are generally supportive of the idea of getting more EVs on the road, but they’ve expressed skepticism that California—and, potentially, other states—would actually be able to carry out the ban over such a short period of time. For starters, they say there aren’t enough EV charging stations to accommodate such a surge in demand. And, they say, it will be challenging to get enough raw materials to make batteries for so many electric vehicles.

“These are complex, intertwined and global issues well beyond the control of either [California regulators] or the auto industry,” says John Bozzella, president of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, to the Wall Street Journal’s Mike Colias and Christine Mai-Duc.

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Sarah Kuta

Sarah Kuta is a writer and editor based in Longmont, Colorado. She covers history, science, travel, food and beverage, sustainability, economics and other topics.

Maryland commits to ban on gas vehicle sales

maryland gas car ban

The State of Maryland followed in the footsteps of California today by banning all new gas vehicle sales by the model year 2035.

On Monday, the State of Maryland’s Air Quality Control Advisory Council unanimously voted to approve a regulation that would see an implementation of California’s vehicle emissions standards, which have specific goals to have a certain percentage of new vehicle sales be emission-free.

Maryland laws already exist that require the State to match California’s vehicle emissions programs. Maryland aligned with the California Air Resource Board (CARB) vehicle standards in 2011 and is one of seventeen states in the U.S. to adopt the same standards.

Today I announced action to ensure that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the State of Maryland are zero emission by 2035.

Car exhaust is the largest source of greenhouse gas in the State of Maryland. This new regulation puts us on a fast-track to meet our climate goals.

— Governor Wes Moore (@GovWesMoore) March 13, 2023

“This is a policy that was created in California,” House Minority Leader Jason Buckel said in a statement to the Baltimore Sun. “It is based on California’s economy, California’s transportation needs, and California’s electrical grid.”

The proposal will require 43 percent of Maryland’s new car sales to be zero-emission by 2027. By the model year 2035, all new passenger vehicles sold in Maryland will need to be zero-emission. The requirements allow plug-in hybrid vehicles to account for 20 percent of the requirements.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore criticized the previous administration, run by Larry Hogan, for dragging its feet to push the state’s fleet of passenger vehicles to be more sustainable:

“The last administration pumped the brakes on this regulation, but today I am proud to say that we’re getting rolling again.”

Moore drove off from a Monday press conference in a Ford Mustang Mach-E, which was the Detroit-based automaker’s initial EV rollout several years ago.

“Today, we’re talking about a major transformation that is going to define this administration—and that’s how we turn Maryland from a state powered by oil and gas to a state powered by clean energy,” Gov. Moore said in a press release. “I am confident that the state of Maryland can and will lead the clean energy revolution.”

383,000 fewer new gas-powered vehicles would be sold under the new rule by 2030. This figure rises to 1.68 million vehicles by 2035.

The requirements are expected to be finalized by September and the public will be given an opportunity to comment and voice concerns. The rule will receive an advisory review from a legislative committee.

In August, California became the first U.S. state to ban the sale of new gasoline cars by 2035. Every new car sold in the state after that year is required to be 100 percent free of fossil fuel emissions.

“The climate crisis is solvable if we focus on the big, bold steps necessary to stem the tide of carbon pollution,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in August when the goal was announced.

California plans to have 68 percent of its new car sales be zero-emissions by 2030. 35 percent of new car sales will be free of fossil fuels by 2026.

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Maryland commits to ban on gas vehicle sales

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Why Minnesota Democrats aren’t embracing California’s ban on new gas cars

Some states plan to join California in largely banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035, but Minnesota doesn’t seem poised to follow.

by Walker Orenstein/MinnPost September 22, 2022 September 22, 2022

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States like Washington and Massachusetts plan to join California in largely banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035, seeing it as an effective way to rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

In Minnesota, however, prominent Democrats who celebrated an earlier move toward cleaner vehicles are not supporting the idea — at least not so far. Gov. Tim Walz’s administration hasn’t ruled out a ban on selling new gas cars, though Walz’s regulators strongly suggest it won’t happen any time soon.

Now, a key DFL lawmaker in the Minnesota House from progressive Minneapolis is also throwing cold water on the idea. State Rep. Jamie Long, who leads the House’s Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee said the governor is “taking the right approach” by implementing an earlier and less strict version of California’s auto emissions standards for just one year.

“I think Minnesota is going to go its own path,” Long told MinnPost, saying electric vehicles are less common in Minnesota than other states moving quickly toward EVs. “I think the likelihood that we follow California is probably low.”

Minnesota must decide which auto regulations to follow

Last year, Minnesota adopted what it calls Clean Cars standards. They are identical to California’s auto emission standards, and primarily require auto manufacturers to deliver more electric vehicles for sale in the state starting in 2024.

California is the only state that can set its own auto emission regulations, but other states can either choose to follow California or hew to federal standards.

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Most Democrats have supported Clean Cars in Minnesota because they argue it will offer more EV choices, stimulate a lagging industry and slash carbon emissions. But Republicans and auto dealers oppose the regulations, saying they meddle with a free market and force expensive EVs on people. Then, in August, California made the rules tougher. Starting in vehicle model year 2026, the state will allow auto manufacturers to deliver fewer and fewer cars with internal combustion engines for sale until they are largely phased out in 2035. (People will still be able to buy new gas cars in other states or used ones in California. Some new plug-in hybrids that use gasoline will also still remain available.) That means Minnesota’s older program will run for one year, until 2025. At that point Minnesota will either have to join California in banning new gas cars or reverting to less stringent federal regulations. The decision for now is in the hands of Walz and his Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The MPCA can act without new legislative approval because of state laws governing pollution regulation, though lawmakers could always change that authority, and their views likely factor into state decisions on the issue. MPCA commissioner Katrina Kessler on Friday reiterated the agency is not starting a rulemaking process to ban the sale of new gas cars by 2035 and is focused on implementing less aggressive 2025 regulations. The MPCA has previously estimated EVs would need to make up between 6.2% to 7.4% of new light-duty vehicles sales of manufacturers in Minnesota to meet the original Clean Cars standards. “We haven’t gotten to the starting point” of the older rules, Kessler said. “It’s premature to try to ask us what are you going to do in three days when we haven’t decided what we’re going to do tomorrow.”

Key House Democrat not calling for car ban

Long, the Minneapolis DFLer, is a prominent voice on climate and energy policy for his party at the state Capitol and is in the progressive wing of his party on the issue. On Friday, he spoke, wearing a windmill lapel pin, as the governor unveiled a “Climate Action Framework” that details policy hopes held by Democrats, climate nonprofits and some businesses to reduce carbon emissions across the state. It calls for 20% of vehicles on Minnesota roads to be EVs by 2030 and for an 80% reduction in carbon emissions from the transportation sector by 2040. It does not include a ban on selling gas cars, even though such a plan would sharply reduce emissions from a transportation sector that accounts for roughly a quarter of Minnesota’s emissions. Currently, the state is not on track to meet a state goal for reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2025, and the transportation sector carries part of the blame. Long said Minnesota’s Clean Cars rules will spark the EV market in Minnesota and provide consumers with options already offered in other states trying to increase EV use. After those rules end, Minnesota can reassess where it’s at, he said. But Long also said Minnesota is different from California and other states. For instance, Long said EVs aren’t as popular here and that the state needs a more robust charging system. Minnesota is the only state in the Midwest to adopt the earlier version of the auto emissions standards. “I think we need to get to a point first where Minnesotans have the choices to buy electric vehicle options and also that we have the infrastructure to support those choices,” Long said. “I think in the next few years that’s where I want my focus to be, is getting options for Minnesotans for new vehicle purchases.” Would the reaction from Long, Walz and other Democrats be different if not for this coming midterm election that will decide who is governor and who controls the Legislature? Politics can’t be ignored in this case. The issue has been controversial, with some Democrats, particularly in rural areas, opposing the original Clean Cars standard. Republicans lately have criticized Democrats for what they say is a lack of a clear “yes” or “no” answer on adopting California’s gas car ban. “Right now gas vehicles are $15,000 cheaper than electric,” said Rep. Chris Swedzinkski of Ghent, the top Republican on the House’s climate and energy committee. “This would represent a massive shift with expensive consequences for Minnesota families, businesses, and auto dealers, and we aren’t getting a straight answer from Gov. Walz or his agencies.”

What Democrats hope to do instead

In the absence of banning sales of new gas cars, Long said he hopes to pass a bill to offer EV rebates, and he said there should be more state funding for electric vehicle chargers. But he also said there has been federal investment in charging and the Inflation Reduction Act will pay for an EV tax credit, among other provisions aimed at sparking the market. Some auto manufacturers have also set their own goals for stopping or limiting the sale of gas vehicles. By 2025, when the Clean Cars standard in Minnesota is running its short course, Long said “there’s going to be a lot in motion” from the federal government and by auto manufacturers to advance the industry. Rather than endorse a ban on selling new gas cars, the climate framework unveiled by Walz and the MPCA at an Ecolab facility in Eagan calls for more money for a statewide pedestrian and bicycle network, more transit, and land use policy that “facilitates multimodal transportation.” One major policy proposal suggested in the framework for slashing carbon emissions from vehicles is what’s known as a “low carbon fuel standard,” which requires that fuels become less “carbon intensive” over time. That would need to be passed by a Legislature that is currently split between the majority-DFL House and the Republican-led Senate. A version of the policy has been adopted in states like California, Washington and Oregon. MinnPost is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization whose mission is to provide high-quality journalism for people who care about Minnesota.

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