California air regulators voted yesterday to approve strict rules that would ban the sale of new gas cars by 2035 and set an earlier phase out period prior to 2035.
This action is one of the first such bans worldwide. It will have a major impact on the US car market, given how large and impactful California’s economy is.
The California Air Resources Board’s new rules also set interim quotas for zero-emission vehicles, focusing on new models. Starting with 2026 models, 35% of new cars, SUVs and small pickups sold in California would be required to be zero-emission vehicles. That quota would increase each year and is expected to reach 51% of all new car sales in 2028, 68% in 2030 and 100% in 2035. The quotas also would allow 20% of zero-emission cars sold to be plug-in hybrids.
The rules would not impact used vehicles, allowing them to stay on the roads. The first effect of these rules will not begin until 2026. More than 15 states have already followed California’s previous zero-emission vehicle regulations. If many other states follow California’s lead, it would transform the US auto industry. Several companies including Ford and GM have already announced ambitious plans to move toward zero-emission cars, trucks and SUVs.