California will stop selling new gasoline cars in 2035

State approves bold plan that could accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in the US and around the world

California, which has the largest automobile market in the United States, will ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks by 2035. This initiative, a pioneer in the country, is part of a bold plan to combat global warming in a state that has suffered from historic forest fires due to the record temperatures recorded in the summers of recent years.

According to the new rules, approved at the end of August, from 2035 all new cars must run on electricity or hydrogen. Californians will be able to continue driving gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, but they will only be entitled to buy this type of vehicle if it is used. 

In addition, the state will still allow a fifth of new car sales after 2035 to be hybrid vehicles, which run on both electric and gasoline batteries. The approved plan also establishes interim targets and requires that 35% of new passenger vehicles sold by 2026 do not emit polluting gases. After this milestone, the target increases to 68% in 2030, until zero in 2035.

California Governor Gavin Newsom told ABC News that the measure is a watershed in the country's goals to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and that he is confident that other states in the country will follow suit. 

According to The New York Times, this new policy should accelerate the global transition to the use of electric vehicles. “More than a dozen other states typically follow California's lead in setting their own auto emissions standards,” the publication reports. “If these states move forward, and most are expected to adopt similar rules, the restrictions would apply to about a third of the U.S. auto market.”

Inspiration for other countries

The governments of Canada, Great Britain, and at least nine other European countries — such as France, Spain and Denmark — have already set goals to phase out the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles between 2030 and 2040. But no policy concrete like that of California, states the publication.

“This regulation will set the global benchmark for the accelerated transition to electric vehicles,” Drew Kodjak, executive director of the International Council on Clean Transportation, told the newspaper.

The transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, points out The Guardian, highlighting that the rapid adoption of non-polluting cars could, by 2050, save 110 thousand lives in the country, save US$ 1.2 trillion in public health spending and reduce emissions by 92%.

According to the British newspaper, California has around 80,000 public charging stations, so it will need to expand this number to accommodate the increase in electric vehicles. In the first quarter of 2022, only 16% of new cars sold in the state were non-polluting.

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