Virginia to no longer enforce stricter EV regulations

The US state of Virginia adopted the California electric vehicle mandate programme in 2021. However, once stricter rules apply from the end of the year, the state no longer wants to comply.

Image: Stellantis

In fact, it will completely exit the California electric vehicle mandate at the end of the year. The reason: No one should mandate what kind of cars Virginia residents can drive, especially not “unelected leaders nearly 3,000 miles away from the Commonwealth,” as Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin explains.

The “unelected leaders” the Republican politician is referring to are the members of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The latter adopted California’s Advanced Clean Cars I regulation in 2021, which was also adopted by other states in the US, such as Virginia and Washington. In 2022, the CARBB adopted the Advanced Clean Cars II, which imposes much stricter rules and takes effect in January 2025.

And because there is a change in policy, Virginia is no longer required to follow it. “Therefore, the Commonwealth will follow federal emissions standards on January 1, 2025,” the Virginia governor’s office writes in its statement. Under the ACC II, beginning with the model year 2026, 35 per cent of all new cars sold would have to be electric. From 2035, all new cars would need to run on electricity rather than petrol or diesel.

“Today, I’ve issued an official Attorney General Opinion that confirms that Virginians are no longer legally bound to follow the emission standards of California,” said Attorney General Jason Miyares. “EV mandates like California’s are unworkable and out of touch with reality, and thankfully the law does not bind us to their regulations.”

Of course, one has to keep in mind that the US is in the run-up to a presidential election. And US Republicans traditionally favour strengthening state power (rather than federal), and that of consumers. Moreover, as EV sales only account for about 9 per cent of car sales in the state, penalties in line with the ACC II would hurt manufacturers.,


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