In order to curb climate change, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) voted on August 25 to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035.
The Advanced Clean Cars II rule requires all new passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs sold in California to be zero emission. The rule establishes a year-by-year roadmap so that by 2035 100% of new cars and light trucks sold in California will be zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The regulation realizes and codifies the light-duty vehicle goals set out in Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-79-20.
“Once again California is leading the nation and the world with a regulation that sets ambitious but achievable targets for ZEV sales. Rapidly accelerating the number of ZEVs on our roads and highways will deliver substantial emission and pollution reductions to all Californians, especially for those who live near roadways and suffer from persistent air pollution,” said CARB Chair Liane Randolph. “The regulation includes ground-breaking strategies to bring ZEVs to more communities and is supported by the Governor’s ZEV budget which provides incentives to make ZEVs available to the widest number of economic groups in California, including low- and moderate-income consumers.”
While many states and nations have set targets and goals to phase out the sale of internal combustion cars, California’s is the most aggressive regulation to establish a definitive mechanism to meet required ZEV sales that ramp up year over year, culminating in 100 percent ZEV sales in 2035.
The ban will not prevent people from using gas-powered vehicles or apply to the used car market, but California officials say it will dramatically cut the state’s climate-warming emissions and famously dirty air by speeding the transition to electric vehicles.
“California now has a groundbreaking, world-leading plan to achieve 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “It’s ambitious, it’s innovative, it’s the action we must take if we’re serious about leaving the planet better off for future generations.”
As California residents consider making the transition from gas to electric vehicles, one option that could help alleviate the costs is Access Clean California (ACC) — a program that aims to help residents with low and moderate incomes get money and other benefits to help them make the switch.
“Access Clean California is a program that came as a key recommendation of SB 350: the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (De León),” stated Tracy Ruiz, an Outreach Program Manager for ACC. “This senate bill instructed CARB to conduct a low-income barriers study to identify what barriers disadvantaged communities faced to access clean transportation.”
Ruiz continued by explaining that the study of the barriers identified four key barriers:
- Community/physical — convenience, safety, available infrastructure, etc.
- Investment — Limited and unstable program funding & lack of long-term investments
- Awareness — education about options and awareness of existing programs/too many programs to navigate
- Affordability— cars are expensive even with incentives.
“The goal of Access Clean California is to streamline and coordinate statewide outreach and education of existing programs through a network of partners and to create a streamlined, centralized user-centered application for CARB’s LCTE programs,” Ruiz said.
ACC partners with community organizations across the state to help residents learn about clean energy and transportation options and get the support they need to apply. The ACC Benefits Finder can help match those interested with programs matching their locations and income level and help them submit their applications.
“The target audience for ACCess has always been the hardest to reach, disadvantaged communities. By creating access for communities with the most barriers, other communities benefit as well,” Ruiz expressed.
With transportation being the single largest source of global warming emissions and air pollution in the state, scientists have said that drastic cuts to emissions are crucial. By 2037, this regulation will provide a 25 percent reduction in smog-causing pollution from light-duty vehicles to meet federal air quality standards. This benefits all Californians but especially the state’s most environmentally and economically burdened communities along freeways and other heavily traveled thoroughfares.
From 2026 through 2040 the regulation will result in cumulative avoided health impacts worth nearly $13 billion including 1,290 fewer cardiopulmonary deaths, 460 fewer hospital admissions for cardiovascular or respiratory illness, and 650 fewer emergency room visits for asthma.
When asked about the benefits of electric vehicles, Ruiz stated that: “Switching over to clean transportation (whether that be individual EV ownership or access to clean shared transportation) has many benefits including reducing local community air pollution that impacts the health of community members, reducing costs of transportation for folks by reducing ‘fuel’ costs, creates safe and reliable transportation for communities who need access to transportation the most.”