Governor Issues Executive Order to Phase out Sale of Gas-Powered Vehicles
September 24, 2020
Governor Newsom issued an executive order yesterday creating a statewide goal of phasing out the sale of non-zero-emission passenger cars and trucks by 2035. Consistent with cost-effectiveness and technological feasibility considerations, the order directs the State Air Resources Board (CARB) to issue implement regulations. The rules will require increasing volumes of new zero-emission vehicles sold in the State toward the 100% target. The order further directs CARB to develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100 percent zero emission by 2045, where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks.
The order highlights the importance of finding a long-term funding source for maintenance of state highways and local streets and roads. SB 1 (Beall, 2017) took a decisive step toward addressing this issue with the imposition of new registration fees that support state and local road maintenance. Specifically, all zero-emission vehicles with model years of 2020 or later will pay a $100 registration fee, while all registered vehicles now pay a “transportation improvement fee” ranging from approximately $25 to $175 annually based on the value of the vehicle. The majority of funding for highway and road maintenance and improvements, however, is derived from state and federal excise taxes on motor vehicle fuels. As the fleet shifts toward zero-emission vehicles, alternative revenue sources will be needed to maintain roads for the use of electric vehicles and buses, and to add and maintain safe facilities for people to walk and bike, consistent with broader climate change goals.
In addition to the aforementioned directives, the order includes provisions requiring state agencies to develop strategies to accelerate sales, deployment, and infrastructure development for zero-emissions vehicles; to implement a “Just Transition Roadmap” to help workers displaced by the shift away from fossil fuels; and to increase bond requirements and other regulations to ensure the proper closure of former oil extraction sites, among other provisions.