The demise of the gas-powered car is about to be put in high gear.
The California Air Resources Board is expected to approve sweeping new regulations on Thursday that would require 35% of new cars sold in the state to be electric vehicles by 2026 – and 100% by 2035.
The regulations, the first of its kind in the world, would completely end the sale of new gasoline or diesel cars in California in just 13-years.
The ruling would not prevent motorists already owning gas- or diesel-powered vehicles from continuing to drive them.
But motorists who still would want to buy a new gas-powered or diesel vehicle, would have to go to Arizona or another state, as early as 2026, if dealers run out of their allotment of conventionally powered cars.
The expected action by the Air Resources board comes nearly two years after a 2020 executive order by Governor Gavin Newsom requiring 100% of new car sales be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
The Air Resources Plan, part of California’s efforts to ramp up air quality, increases the number of new cars that must be electric to 51% of all new car sales in 2028 and 68% in 2030, until 100% is reached in 2035.
The new rules come, however, despite affordability questions on the price of electric cars – the average cost is $66,000 – and a shortage of chargers to power the vehicles.
Last year, a state subsidy program to provide a minimum of $4,500 in grants for electric car purchasers ran out of money around mid-year.
“It was very frustrating,” said Keith Hamilton, co-executive director of the Central California Asthma Collaborative, which runs an electric car equity program.
Hamilton said an approximate doubling of state funds to around $1 billion this year should help motorists who had to abandon their electric car purchases last year.
A lack of chargers is another big problem, particularly for tenants in rental complexes.
Environmental advocates have urged that state building codes require every parking space in rental complexes have chargers connected to it.
But current state rules set only minimal requirements. Tenants in residential complexes with their own dedicated parking space can force their landlord to provide a charger but the tenant would have to pay the cost.
Chargers can run several thousand dollars.
Aides to Governor Newsom at a press conference Wednesday morning insisted that updates to the state building code were in the works. That would require more chargers in rental complexes. They were not specific.
A state report found that 1.2 million chargers will be needed for the 8 million zero-emission vehicles expected in California by 2030.
Around 70,000 public charges are currently in operation in California.
The sale of electric vehicles has been increasing in California, even without the new electric car sales mandates, driven, at least in part, by soaring gas prices.
The California New Car dealers association said in a August report that electric vehicle sales in 2022 reached the highest numbers reported in the last five years, 15.1% – a sharp increase from last year’s 9.5% total.
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