More States Move Toward Banning Gas-Powered Vehicles

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Seventeen states follow California’s rigid vehicle emission requirements instead of federal standards, and now they’re considering following California’s lead in its gas-powered vehicle ban.

Indeed, Oregon said it’ll update its Advanced Clean Cars II law proposal to include a gas-powered vehicle ban in 2035.

And Washington said it would adopt a version of California’s rule by year’s end.

In Sep. 2021, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed Senate Bill S2758, which effectively banned gas-powered vehicle sales by implementing a “zero-emission” in-state sales goal of 100 percent by 2035.

New York will likely institute an outright ban soon.

Further, other states have so-called trigger laws that require them to adopt the same emission regulations as California’s—even if they disagree with the requirements.

On Aug. 25, the California Air Resources Board voted to ban the sale of gas-powered cars entirely by 2035—a move impacting seventeen states that follow California’s emission regulations.

New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, Virginia, and New Mexico have all chosen to opt into California’s standards instead of federal requirement.

Moreover, depending on the legalese of each state’s regulations, if California implements a specific condition, then the state tied to California’s standards must follow suit.

For example, under then-Gov. Ralph Northam (D), Virginia tied itself to California’s emission standards when it passed House Bill 1965, which directed Virginia’s State Air Pollution Control Board to “adopt and enforce” Section 177 of the Clean Air Act.

The Clean Air Act is a federal law requiring states to implement federal vehicle emissions standards or opt under Section 177 to follow California’s more stringent requirements.

Massachusetts, Washington, and Vermont have similar laws tying them to California.

On Aug. 11, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed House Bill 5060, which essentially dictated that if California passed a fossil-fuel vehicle ban, Massachusetts would follow suit.

By Katie Spence

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