California Mulls Banning Sales of Cars with Internal Combustion Engines

Eying European and Asian countries that have set, or are considering timelines to ban sales of cars that emit greenhouse gases, the California governor asked his chief air regulator to see why California couldn't follow suit.

2 minute read

October 1, 2017, 7:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid


Fabianodp / Shutterstock

"California Gov. Jerry Brown has expressed interest in banning cars that burn fossil fuels, the state’s top climate change regulator said in an interview published Tuesday," reports David R. Baker, the San Francisco Chronicle's clean tech and energy reporter.

“The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California,” Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board [CARB]told Bloomberg News.

While China has yet to determine a timeline for banning gas and diesel-powered cars, others have already set dates, though not necessarily firm:

A bill two years ago tackled oil consumption, requiring it to be reduced 50 percent by 2030, along with reducing natural gas consumption by power plants. The bill passed, but without the oil mandate, following a pattern reflected in CARB's June emissions inventory report which showed that while greenhouse gas emissions continue to decline overall, the exception is from transportation sources, which have been increasing.

Brown, arguably the foremost climate champion in the United States since President Obama left office, is driven not only be green envy but by legislation passed last year requiring greenhouse gas reduction of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

“Timing matters,” said Simon Mui, director of the California vehicles and fuels program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. “By 2050, the phaseout of combustion technologies is needed to meet our climate goals."

A bill that would have greatly increased funding for the state Clean Vehicle Rebate Project by "equalizing prices for electric and gas-powered compact cars" was unsuccessful, though a budget bill which will maintain the current funding for the program at $140 million was signed into law by Gov. Brown on Sept. 16.

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