California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday to end the sale of gasoline-powered cars in the state by 2035.
The order aims to phase out cars with internal combustion engines within 15 years by requiring that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the Golden State in 2035 be zero-emission vehicles.
Newsom said the move, which comes as California is battling some of the worst wildfires in the state’s recent history, will help California reduce carbon pollution in the transportation sector, which contributes to more than half of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
“For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe,” Newsom said in a statement. “Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse — and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”
The Democratic governor has been vocal about the need to address climate change, particularly in response to the ongoing wildfires, which have scorched more than 3.6 million acres in the state and contributed to at least 26 deaths.
The order instructs the California Air Resources Board to develop regulations to mandate that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the state be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. Newsom said this shift could reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions from cars by more than 35 percent.
Where feasible, the order further directs the California Air Resources Board to adopt regulations for medium- and heavy-duty vehicle operations to be zero-emission by 2045.
The governor’s office released a statement about the announcement saying that zero-emission vehicles will “almost certainly” be cheaper than gasoline-powered cars by the time the newly announced regulations go into effect.
“We will use our market power to push zero-emission vehicle innovation and drive down costs for everyone,” Newsom tweeted Wednesday.
Though the executive order represents a clear push to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles, it does not prevent California residents from owning cars with internal combustion engines or bar their purchase on the used car market.