- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 25, 2022

California is set to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars starting in 2035.

The state’s Air Resources Board will likely approve Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed regulation on Thursday, setting California on one of the more ambitious climate initiatives in the country, according to multiple outlets.

“The climate crisis is solvable if we focus on the big, bold steps necessary to stem the tide of carbon pollution,” Mr. Newsom reportedly said Wednesday.

By 2035, only zero-emission vehicles and a limited number of plug-in hybrids can be sold in the state.

The regulation also has benchmarks before implementing its key proposal in 13 years.

For example, a third of all cars sold in the state must be electric by 2026. This year, electric cars made up about 16% of sales for the first three months of the year. Californians own 43% of the nation’s electric vehicles as well.

However, California residents will still be allowed to buy used gas-powered cars beyond the 2035 deadline. And they will also be allowed to drive them on the roads.

California’s initiative is likely a bellwether for the direction of the domestic auto industry.

It’s the state with the most registered vehicles (more than 30 million in 2020, according to ValuePenguin) and also has the most car sales in the nation by dollar amount ($137 billion in 2021, or nearly 12% of all transactions, according to data hub Knoema).

Major automakers such as Toyota have already voiced their support for Mr. Newsom’s proposed regulation, saying on Twitter that it “continues to share the vision of greenhouse gas reduction and carbon neutrality goals with the California Air Resources Board and the State of California.”

But the state is coming up against the challenge that all-electric vehicles (EVs) are facing, namely the limited infrastructure.

The state has 80,000 charging stations right now but wants 250,000 by 2025.

There is also a cost factor.

Kelley Blue Book reported that the average cost of a new gas-powered car in the U.S. is just over $48,000 — the highest point ever. Meanwhile, a new electric car would cost you $66,000, which Kelley Blue Book said was a 13% increase from last summer.

Research by the Fuels Institute in 2019 found that the average EV owner is a man between 40 to 55 years old and has an annual household income of more than $100,000.

• This article was based in part on wire service reports.

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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