The Golden State flexes towards zero emissions

When in California, you can't escape the smog caused mainly by vehicle emissions. To address this problem, Governor Gavin Newsom of the Golden State has passed a law banning the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035.

Known as one of the US’s most populous states and the center of the U.S. car culture, California is joining the global carbon neutrality mandate and aims to reduce emissions to zero in 13 years. Issued by the California Air Resource Board (CARB), it requires 100% of new car sales in the state to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

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The rule will gradually phase out the sale of combustion-engine vehicles in hopes of a greener tomorrow. It states that by 2026, 35% of new cars sold must be electric, plug-in hybrids, or models with hydrogen fuel cells. That benchmark will rise to 68% by 2030 and 100% by 2035.

This should hopefully yield a 50% drop in pollution from light trucks and passenger vehicles by the year 2040 as the state also aims to move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. California has been leading the way when it comes to setting strict emissions standards and at least 15 states are also adopting its rules. 

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The auto industry also has the carbon neutrality mandate in sight and is scrambling to meet the zero-emission targets by 2050. Many car companies have pledged to fully switch to EVs by the year 2035. Mercedes and Volvo plan to go fully electric by 2030 while GM expects to finalize their transition by 2035. Bentley aims to sell only plug-in hybrids and EVs by 2026 while Honda has set a 2040 target. Ford, Toyota, and the rest are all planning to go fully electric or hybridize their lineup by 2030.

This ruling sees California strengthening its resolve in lowering carbon emissions and meeting its air quality and climate goals. Other states like New York are now following suit. Governor Newsom said that they have invested USD 10 billion to accelerate the transition to EVs and are hoping to make owning an EV easier and cheaper. He also states that California will continue to lead the revolution towards a zero-emission transportation future.