SACRAMENTO ó Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling for California to ban new gasoline-fueled vehicles within 15 years in a bid to combat climate change and make the state the first in the nation to stop sales of cars with internal combustion engines.
The Democratic governor on Wednesday signed an executive order that directs the California Air Resources Board to establish regulations requiring that all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California in 2035 be zero-emission vehicles.
California has long been a leader on fuel economy, forcing automakers to build more efficient vehicles than required by federal standards. The Golden State is the world's fifth-largest economy, with more than half of its emissions stemming from the transportation sector, so the move is expected to significantly help reduce tailpipe pollution from vehicles with internal combustion engines.
The move comes as California experiences historic wildfires that have consumed more than 3.6 million acres this year already. Newsom has repeatedly emphasized the role of climate change in driving the fires, while Republicans have focused on a need to better manage forests in the state.
"We are marking a new course," Newsom said in a press conference in front of electric vehicles at the state fairgrounds in Sacramento. "We are setting a new marker. We're advancing the cause, with the support of the California Air Resources Board, to once again lead not only this nation but in many respects lead the world."
The ban on gas-powered vehicles is likely to face opposition from automakers and Republican leaders in Washington, who have already battled the state over its stricter fuel economy rules. The Trump administration is fighting the state in court over whether it can set stricter emissions standards than the nation as a whole.
California Business Roundtable President Rob Lapsley said in an interview that the "radical step" to ban internal combustion engines "makes no sense" and is a rushed decision, with no guarantee of affordability for many who live in an already-expensive state.