California set itself on a path Thursday to end the era of gas-powered cars, with air regulators adopting the world’s most stringent rules for transitioning to zero-emission vehicles.
The move by the California Air Resources Board to have all new cars, pickup trucks and SUVs be electric or hydrogen by 2035 is likely to reshape the U.S. auto market, which gets 10% of its sales from the nation’s most populous state.
Such a radical transformation in what people drive will also require at least 15 times more vehicle chargers statewide and a more robust energy grid.
Other states are expected to follow, further accelerating the production of zero-emissions vehicles.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said his state will follow California and prohibit the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035.
The specific regulations for Washington state are yet to be created and the public will have the chance to weigh in, The Seattle Times reported.
“This is a critical milestone in our climate fight. Washington set in law a goal for all new car sales to be zero emissions by 2030 and we’re ready to adopt California’s regs by end of this year,” Inslee said Wednesday on Twitter.
Transportation-related emissions account for more than 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington.
California’s policy passed Wednesday requires 100% of new sales of passenger cars, trucks and SUVs to be powered by electricity or hydrogen by 2035, with one-fifth allowed to be plug-in hybrids. It doesn’t ban the use of gas-powered cars or the sale of used cars.
In 2020, Washington lawmakers passed a law directing the state Department of Ecology to adopt California’s emissions standards as they’re rolled out.
Washington lawmakers this year also set a goal of phasing out sales of new internal combustion-powered cars by 2030.
A state council, previously set up by Inslee to plan for the future of electric vehicles, held its first meeting in July, at which members discussed building a network of fast-charging stations on state highways, said Anna Lising, senior climate adviser to Inslee. The effort will be helped by $71 million from the federal government.
The state Legislature also has budgeted $69 million to set up “community charging” stations for people who don’t live in a single-family home.
Lising said she expects the new regulations will incentivize manufacturers to make more and cheaper electric vehicles.
Massachusetts also has already said it will follow California’s lead and more states are likely to. New York and Pennsylvania are among 17 states that have adopted some or all of California’s tailpipe emission standards that are stricter than federal rules.
Republican Rep. Andy Barkis, of Olympia, ranking member of the Washington House’s transportation committee, said he felt the push to ban internal combustion engines would hurt both manufacturers and consumers.
“I believe the market is best to continue to determine how we transition,” he said.
Nearly 20% of new vehicle registrations in Washington in July were either electric or hybrid, according to data from the Department of Licensing. In total, 104,000 electric vehicles—either fully battery electric or a plug-in hybrid electric—are registered in the state, about 2.5 times the total from two years ago.
There are around 4.7 million passenger class vehicles in the state, according to the department.