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September 16, 2022
California takes critical step to eliminate new gas car sales

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced approval of its Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII) rule on August 25, 2022. The rule establishes a year-by-year road map so that by 2035, 100% of new cars and light trucks sold in California will be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The regulation realizes and codifies the light-duty vehicle goals set out in Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-79-20.

“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,” said CARB Chair Liane Randolph in a CARB press release.

The regulation’s requirements include:

  • The delivery by automakers of an increasing number of zero-emission light-duty vehicles each year beginning in model year 2026. Sales of new ZEVs and PHEVs will start with 35% that year, build to 68% in 2030, and reach 100% in 2035.
  • Regulatory steps to ensure that ZEVs can be full replacements to gasoline vehicles and hold their market value for owners and that used car buyers are getting a quality vehicle that will not pollute. By model year 2030, the rules require the vehicle to maintain at least 80% of electric range for 10 years or 150,000 miles.

Financial assistance and investments

The California Legislature approved Newsom’s proposal for $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2022–23, and $3.9 billion over 3 years, for investment in ZEV adoption, as well as clean mobility options for California’s most environmentally and economically burdened communities. These programs support the new regulation by increasing access to ZEVs for all Californians, including the following:

The governor’s ZEV budget includes $400 million over 3 years for the expansion of the state’s Clean Cars 4 All program and for a suite of clean transportation equity projects. The budget also includes $525 million for the CVRP. There is also $300 million budgeted for more charging infrastructure across the state.

Updated regulations for conventional cars

ACC II includes updated regulations for light- and medium-duty internal combustion engine vehicles, as well, to mitigate the air quality impacts from conventional vehicles. It also reduces the allowable exhaust emissions under more real-world driving conditions and emissions caused by evaporation.

Environmental justice component

The regulation contains benefits for those who live near roadways and suffer from persistent air pollution. The durability and warranty requirements in the regulation will help establish a viable and dependable used ZEV market to ensure the emissions benefits are permanent, and the regulation includes an approach that provides credits to automakers for certain actions that increase access to ZEVs by low-income households and people living in disadvantaged communities.

Other states

Many states currently follow California’s vehicle regulations, including Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

“These states are expected to adopt these regulations through their own rulemakings, gaining the clean air and climate benefits the regulation delivers,” states the CARB press release. “These states (including California) constitute about 40% of the nation’s new car sales.”

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