The Golden State has set its course on climate action and the latest proposal requests to put a halt on all sales of gas guzzlers from 2040 onwards. Chances are for the zero-emission legislation to be passed into law.
This time around it was not California’s governor Jerry Brown, notorious for his tough take on climate change, to bring forth an ambitious proposal but assembly member Phil Ting.
If written into law, his bill AB1745, calls for all new passenger cars in the state be zero emissions vehicles after January, 1, 2040. Specifically, the bill would prohibit the Department of Motor Vehicles from accepting an application for original registration of a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is a ZEV. The so-called Clean Cars 2040 Act would not apply to large commercial vehicles (larger than 5 tons).
The proposal of Ting comes in the wake of CARB’s latest Climate Change Scoping Plan which requires the West Coast to double the rate at which it has been cutting green house gas (GHG) emissions. Said plan called on regulators to develop a set of complementary policies with a goal of reaching 100% light-duty ZEV sales. In more concrete numbers, California needs 4.2 million zero emission and plug-in hybrid light-duty electric vehicles on its roads by 2030.
Whether this latest bill to ban sales of ICEs entirely once 2040 begins is to become law remains to be seen but conditions in the Golden State seem favourable. Governor Brown’s stated goal for California is to have 1.5 million zero emissions vehicles on the road by 2025. Also, the new bill has been favoured by organisations such as NextGen America, Earthjustice, or Brightline Defense.
Still, California has some way to go even with nearly 300,000 EVs on California roads today. In 2016, of 2.09 million new cars sold in California, only 1.9% were EVs.
If the Clean Cars 2040 ACT is successful, it would put California in a line of states that have stated their intent to ban all vehicles running on fossil fuels within 22 years time. Among them are Great Britain or France. Other countries such as Norway are discussing more ambitious targets such as 2025, or 2030 in the case of the Netherlands.