California is accelerating the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) by banning the sale of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks by 2035. Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.
The order will require all new passenger vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2035, which means they will have to run on electricity, hydrogen, or other clean energy sources. The order will also mandate that medium- and heavy-duty vehicles be zero-emission by 2045, where feasible.
California is the largest auto market in the US, accounting for about 11% of all vehicle sales in the country. The state has also been a leader in setting stricter emission standards and promoting cleaner transportation options. According to Governor Gavin Newsom, the order will help create jobs, boost innovation, and improve public health.
"This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change," Newsom said in a statement. "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."
The order is expected to significantly impact the auto industry, which is already investing heavily in EV development and production. Several automakers, including Ford, GM, Honda, and Volkswagen, have agreed to follow California's emission standards, which are more stringent than the federal ones. Some automakers, such as Tesla and Volvo, have also announced plans to phase out gasoline vehicles entirely in the future.
However, only some people are on board with California's ambitious goal. The Trump administration has been trying to revoke California's authority to set its own emission standards, arguing that it creates a patchwork of regulations that hurts consumers and businesses. The administration has also rolled back federal fuel economy standards that the Obama administration set.
The order may also face legal challenges from industry groups or other states that oppose California's environmental policies. Some critics have also raised concerns about the availability and affordability of EVs and the infrastructure and grid capacity needed to support them.
Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledged that the order would require collaboration and coordination among various stakeholders, including automakers, utilities, regulators, and consumers. He said he is confident that California can overcome the challenges and lead the way in the global shift to clean transportation.
"By setting a clear timeline for phasing out gasoline-powered vehicles, we're encouraging automakers to innovate and invest in electric vehicles," he said. "We're also sending a clear message to consumers that we're serious about cleaning up our air and protecting our planet."
The Economic Implications of California's EV Transition
California's decision to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 will have significant economic implications for the state, both positive and negative. Here are some of the main effects:
- Job creation: The EV transition will create new jobs in the clean energy sector, such as manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and innovation of EVs and charging infrastructure. According to a study by Energy Innovation, California could gain over 100,000 net new jobs by 2035 and over 300,000 by 2050 from the EV transition. These jobs would also be more diverse and accessible than fossil fuel industry jobs, benefiting low-income and minority communities.
- Consumer savings: The EV transition will also save consumers money on fuel and maintenance costs, as EVs are cheaper to operate and maintain than gasoline vehicles. According to a study by Consumer Reports, California drivers could save over $1,000 per year on average by switching to an EV. These savings would also stimulate the local economy by increasing consumer spending and disposable income.
- Competitiveness: The EV transition will enhance California's competitiveness in the global market, as it will position the state as a leader and innovator in clean transportation. California already has a strong presence in the EV industry, with companies like Tesla, Lucid Motors, Rivian, Proterra, and ChargePoint headquartered or operating in the state. The EV transition will attract more investment and talent to the state, as well as open up new export opportunities for California-made EVs and components.
- Challenges: The EV transition will also pose some challenges for California's economy, such as the loss of revenue from gasoline taxes, the need for upgrading and expanding the electrical grid and charging infrastructure, and the potential impact on low-income and rural drivers who may face barriers to accessing or affording EVs. The state will need to address these challenges by implementing policies and programs that ensure a fair and equitable transition for all Californians. Some examples of such policies are:
- Replacing gasoline taxes with a mileage-based fee or a carbon tax that reflects the environmental impact of driving.
- Investing in grid modernization and resilience, as well as renewable energy sources, to meet the increased demand for electricity from EVs.
- Providing incentives and rebates for low-income and rural drivers to purchase or lease EVs, as well as expanding access to public transportation and car-sharing options.
- Supporting workforce development and training programs for workers transitioning from the fossil fuel industry to the clean energy sector.
The Economic Drawbacks of California's EV Transition
California's decision to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 will also have some negative economic implications for the state, such as the following:
- Revenue loss: The EV transition will reduce the state's revenue from gasoline taxes, which are used to fund transportation infrastructure and public services. According to a study by the University of California, Davis, California could lose up to $2.4 billion per year in gasoline tax revenue by 2035 due to the EV transition. The state will need to find alternative sources of revenue, such as a mileage-based fee or a carbon tax, to compensate for this loss.
- Grid strain: The EV transition will increase the demand for electricity from the grid, which may pose challenges to reliability and resilience. California already faces frequent blackouts and brownouts due to aging infrastructure, extreme weather events, and wildfires. According to a report by the Washington Post, California's transition to electric vehicles could require three times as much lithium as is currently produced for the entire global market, causing environmental and social problems inside and outside its borders. The state will need to invest in grid modernization and renewable energy sources to meet the increased demand for electricity from EVs.
- Equity issues: The EV transition may also create or exacerbate equity issues for low-income and rural drivers facing barriers to accessing or affording EVs. According to a Climate and Community Project and University of California, Davis study, low-income drivers are more likely to own older and less efficient vehicles and may not have access to charging infrastructure or public transportation alternatives. The state will need to provide incentives and rebates for low-income and rural drivers to purchase or lease EVs and expand access to public transportation and car-sharing options.
The EV transition is California's bold and ambitious move to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. However, it will also have negative economic implications for the state, such as revenue loss, grid strain, and equity issues. The state must address these challenges by implementing policies and programs that ensure a fair and equitable transition for all Californians.