California

California is ready to take a step toward its goal of banning new gasoline-powered vehicle sales with the approval of new regulations this week. The new rules would set a firm timetable for Governor Gavin Newsom’s plans to increase sales of zero-emission cars, which he first announced in an executive order two years ago.

The proposed regulations would set targets for boosting the percentage of electric vehicles to 35% by 2026 and reaching 68% by 2030. The state includes plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles under that category.

California is the nation’s top market for electric vehicles, accounting for 15% of new cars registered this year, according to the California New Car Dealers Association. The state is also the birthplace of Tesla, Inc. The state already offers rebates up to $7,000 for electric vehicle purchases under $45,000 under its own clean-vehicle incentive program.

Last week, President Joe Biden signed The Inflation Reduction Act, which includes tax credits of up to $7,500 to electric vehicle buyers under certain restrictions. Last year, the government passed an infrastructure law that included $5 million in funding for a nationwide network of charging stations along major highways. All of these efforts are designed to sway automakers to ramp up the switch to electric vehicles.

Despite the push, industry analysts warn that consumers may not be ready to accept a full switch to EV just yet. Electric vehicle sales made up less than 6% of new car sales for the first half of 2022. The average price for an electric vehicle in July was just under $63,000. With supply chain issues and uncertainty over raw material supplies, there is a real concern that prices may increase beyond what buyers are willing or able to pay.


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