On Wednesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced one of the most decisive reforms towards clean energy in the state’s, if not the country’s, history. By 2035, according to Newsom’s mandate, the sale of new gasoline-powered automobiles will be illegal in California.
Standing before an array of electric-powered vehicles, Newsom detailed a timeline that could force the country’s most populous state to shift towards zero-emission, electric-powered vehicles in fifteen years.
The plan will not flat-out ban residents from owning gas-powered cars, nor will it stop them from buying or selling used vehicles. The sale of new such vehicles, however, will be illegal in California by 2035. With a population of over 40 million, California hosts one in every ten new car sales in the United States. Newsom’s move, thus, could immensely impact the auto and gasoline industries across the country.
While California would be the first state in the union to adapt such an ambitious commitment, it won’t be the first global economy to do so. In fact, at least 15 countries, including Germany, France, and Norway, have already made similar commitments to replace gas-powered cars with clean energy vehicles.
Governor Newsom signed an executive order instructing state regulators to develop new rules to meet the deadline. In doing so, he encouraged Californians to “pull away from the gas pump,” and called on other states to follow suit. The transition, he insisted, is best for the environment, for public health, and for the economy.
“If you want to reduce asthma, if you want to mitigate the rise of sea level, if you want to mitigate a loss of ice sheets around the globe, then this is a policy for other states to follow,” Newsom said.
The announcement heralded applause from environmental groups, outrage from the petroleum industry, and mixed reviews from automakers, who hope to find some common ground in maintaining gas-powered cars while also adapting greener technologies.
Meanwhile, the White House slammed the announcement, labeling it “very extreme,” and insisting that “President Trump won’t stand for it.” A spokesman for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, on the other hand, did not flat-out endorse Newsom’s mandate, but did speak to its benefits. Making such a shift, says the Biden campaign, will create “good-paying union jobs, dominate a fast-growing market worldwide, and meet the demands of the climate crisis.”