The last few days have seen a flurry of stories in the media about California banning sales of new gas-powered cars by 2035, such as these stories in Politico and the Washington Post. These stories were triggered by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) beginning the rulemaking process to implement the executive order signed by Governor Newsom nearly three years ago.
The rules have a goal to phase in ever-increasing percentages of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) in the passenger car and light-duty truck markets over the next dozen years in order to reach 100 percent ZEV by model year 2035. This cohort of vehicles would be those with gross vehicle weights less than 8,500 pounds. Medium-duty (8,501 to 14,00 pounds) and heavy-duty trucks (over 14,001 pounds) would not be subject to the same zero emission rules until 2045. So, at first only motorhomes or tow vehicles under 8,500 pounds would be impacted, such as some Class B motorhomes.
Other portions of the rule would impose stricter emission standards for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles beginning in model year 2026. This portion of the rule would cover all vehicles, including motorhomes and tow vehicles, that weigh 14,000 pounds or less.
Frequently Asked Questions on the Ban of Sales of New Internal Combustion Engines in California:
What vehicles are covered?
Passenger cars and light-duty trucks will be required to be ZEV beginning with model year 2035. This would be vehicles with weights less than 8,500 pounds and would include some Class B motorhomes.
Are medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles included?
No, medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks will not be subject to the ZEV requirement until 2045. That part of the rulemaking has not begun yet, but stricter emission standards will phase in during 2026 for medium-duty vehicles (those weighing between 8,501 and 14,000 pounds, including Class B and some Class C motorhomes).
Will older internal combustion engines still be permitted to operate in California?
The new rules will not ban sales of used vehicles with internal combustion engines and such vehicles will still be permitted to operate on California highways.
Will other states follow California’s lead?
There are currently 17 states that have adopted California’s emissions requirements, known as Section 177 states: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. These states account for nearly 40 percent of all vehicle sales in the country. Already, Oregon and Washington have started the process of formally adopting the California ZEV requirement.
Does the national infrastructure have capacity to handle the increased needs of ZEVs?
The number of charging stations will need to be increased dramatically to fulfill the needs of the growing numbers of ZEVs on the road. There was significant funding for such development in last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Will vehicle or engine manufacturers have until 2035 to begin making changes?
No, the rules envision a phase-in starting in model year 2026 and taking ten years to require only ZEVs being sold in the state. In 2026, 35 percent of new car and light-duty truck sales must be ZEV; by 2030, that will rise to 68 percent.