California legislators representing the nation’s largest electric vehicle market are seeking clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to place an effective ban on the sales of gas-powered cars by 2035.
In a letter obtained by Reuters, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) wrote to the EPA on Monday, May 22, asking the agency to approve the rule by exempting the region from the Clear Air Act. The law prevents states from imposing their own emissions standards, although the federal government can grant waivers as it sees fit. This accommodation has been extended to multiple CARB requests in the past, allowing the state to enforce other electric vehicle standards.
The policy in question would introduce increasingly strict emission targets from 2026 through 2035, at which point the state will ban gasoline-only vehicles, restricting purchases to hybrid or electric vehicles. Reuters reports that California expects to lose $210.35 billion but gain $301.41 billion under its plan.
While the rule will need approval from the EPA before passing, the agency itself is looking to enact a similar policy on a nationwide scale. A proposal introduced by regulatory officials in April would also limit the use of gas-powered cars by requiring 67% of the automotive industry’s sales to be comprised of hybrid and electric vehicles by 2032. Although the law stops short of an outright ban, House Republicans are urging the department to retract this policy. Whether the EPA will endorse an even more aggressive approach than its own, such as the rule presented by CARB, remains to be seen.