The first quarter of 2022 saw sales of fully-electric vehicles reach 5% market share for the first time. Among the nearly half a million EVs sold in America last year, roughly 70% were Teslas. But the reality is that electric vehicle prices remain sky-high and out of reach for most consumer’s finances. And then there’s the supply shortages.
Despite these challenges, a few states are joining the emerging global trend of planning to ban sales of new combustion-powered vehicles. The European Union and even China are planning to end sales of new combustion-powered light-duty vehicles next decade.
Why don’t states have to follow federal emissions rules? Well they do, but they are allowed to enforce more stringent rules. California was originally granted a waiver from the 1970 Clean Air Act so that it could enforce even stricter emissions standards to combat smog. Since then, other states have followed suit with transportation-related emissions targets.
Today, nearly a quarter of Americans live in a state where sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles are set to be phased out. These are the states considering a ban on new ICE car sales, and when the bans will take effect.
California Was First to Announce ICE Car Ban
If you’re no stranger to the auto industry, you likely know that California’s strict emissions standards have shaped fuel economy standards and electrification plans for a few decades. In 2020, California announced that it will ‘phase out’ gasoline-powered cars by 2035 to reduce demand for fossil fuels responsible for human health hazards and climate-warming emissions. Governor Gavin Newsom said the transportation sector is “responsible for more than half of all of California’s carbon pollution, 80 percent of smog-forming pollution, and 95 percent of toxic diesel emissions.”
Will California’s ICE ban be moved forward to 2030? It’s possible, perhaps even likely. Some politicians are advocating for a quicker phase out of fossil fuels, and the cities of Oakland, Culver City and Berkeley are already targeting a 2030 deadline.
Accelerated Timeline for Ridesharing
A new regulation promoted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) would require that rideshare companies achieve a level of zero greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure 90 percent of their vehicle miles are fully electric by 2030.
Washington State Plans to Ban ICE Cars
The 2022 Move Ahead Washington transportation package passed the state’s legislature and made it to Governor Inslee’s desk for a signature. Thirty-six percent of the $16 billion transportation package is dedicated to climate-friendly transportation infrastructure, such as electric vehicle charging, public transit electrification, and even low-emissions ferries.
Within the 2022 Move Ahead Washington package is a bold new policy aimed at ending sales of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles starting in 2030, just 7 years away.
“Transportation is our state’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. There is no way to talk about climate change without talking about transportation. This package will move us away from the transportation system our grandparents imagined and towards the transportation system our grandchildren dream of,” Inslee said in a statement.
In 2020, transportation overtook electricity generation as the top source of carbon emissions in the United States.
New York ICE Car Ban
New York will ban the sale of ICE cars and light-duty trucks starting in 2035. In September 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill implementing the future ban. The New York law also seeks to eliminate emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045. The state government is required to create a detailed plan for zero-emissions vehicle development by 2023.
The New York ICE ban has eyes on the truck sector. Governor Hochul instructed the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to propose new regulations that will accelerate the adoption of electrified trucks in particular.
“When adopted, this new regulation will require an increasing percentage of all new trucks sold in New York to be zero-emissions vehicles beginning with the 2025 model year, cementing our state as a national leader on actions to address climate change while spurring economic opportunities and helping to reduce air pollution,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.
Massachusetts ICE Ban
Roughly 27 percent of Massachusetts emissions come from passenger vehicles. As the state seeks out strategies to achieve net-zero fossil-fuel emissions by 2050, a ban on the sale of new combustion-powered vehicles has entered the picture.
Massachusetts is one 16 states that adhere to California’s vehicle emission standards, a policy first adopted in 1991 to ensure the state has strict anti-pollution regulations. State officials are taking the idea of an ICE ban seriously. Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides recently emphasized this, saying that “the commitment for the state of Massachusetts that we will ban sales of internal combustion engines by 2035 is a commitment to which we are wedded.”
Will There Be a Nationwide Phase-Out of Gas-Powered Vehicles?
In 2022, 12 states are seeking to set a target date for the nationwide phase-out of ICE car sales. California, New Mexico, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, Hawaii, Connecticut, New York, Oregon, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Washington are all pushing for a nationwide ban of gasoline and diesel-powered light-duty vehicles starting in 2035.
Why stop at heavy duty trucks? The battery and charging technology isn’t quite there yet for big rigs, and supply chain logistics are too fragile to disrupt with talk of bans on combustion engines.
Proponents of a nationwide ban on ICE sales say that it’s the most effective way to combat pollution since emissions spread beyond state borders. A nationwide ban on ICE vehicles does not appear likely for now, but we’ll keep an eye on the latest developments at both the state and federal levels.