Will California Cars All Be Zero Emission by 2040?

A potential law was introduced in Sacramento that would ban sales of any new car that emits fossil fuels after 2040.

A new initiative called Clean Cars 2040 was introduced in Sacramento today by Assemblymember Phil Ting, setting the next major goal for California’s environmental policies. Under the potential law, all passenger vehicles sold after Jan. 1, 2040, would be required to be zero emissions. 

The law would be an extension of a goal set by Governor Jerry Brown to have 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025, and 5 million by 2030. 

“California has long led the nation in promoting environmental protection and public health through visionary policies and technological innovations,” says Ting. “We’re at an inflection point: we’ve got to address the harmful emissions that cause climate change.  Achieving the goal of electrification of transportation is crucial for the health of our people and the planet.”

Currently, 40 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions are caused by vehicles that run on fossil fuels. Under this new law, no emissions of greenhouse gases would be allowed at all in order for a vehicle to qualify. An exception will be made to large commercial vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds, and would exempt vehicles owned by new California residents who moved in from out of state. 

The law seems ambitious — but it’s still 22 years away, and electric cars are becoming more prevalent than ever. (Full disclosure, this writer just bought a Prius C.)

This year, the highly anticipated Tesla Model 3 will hit the streets, with more than 500,000 pre-orders being fulfilled. The all-electric car costs around $44,000, and can run 310 miles on a single charge. 

The budget-friendly Nissan Leaf got a sportier upgrade, with 150 miles between each charge and ProPILOT assistance to help drivers navigate streets in traffic.

And luxury car brands are hopping on baord: The Audi E-Tron Quattro fully electric SUV will hit the streets in the first half of the year, with 275 miels per charge and  Competing with it will be the Jaguar I-Pace all-electric SUV will arrive in the second quarter of 2018, with 220 miles to a charge. 

There are nearly 300,00 electric vehicles on California’s streets today. But based on a press release sent out about Ting’s new law, only 1.9 percent of the city’s approximately 2.09 million new cars sold in 2016 were electric. 

“Over-reliance on fossil fuels in transportation damages the air, our health, the environment, our society and our economy,” says Ting. “The transition to zero-emission vehicles is underway, promising myriad health, environmental and economic benefits. Clean Cars 2040 is a powerful policy initiative that’ll set us on the correct course for achieving clean air and climate targets that prioritize public health.”

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