California is considering following China’s lead with a ban on internal-combustion engines as a way to improve air quality and minimize emissions, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Gov. Jerry Brown is interested in stopping sales of internal-combustion vehicles, according to California Air Resources Board chairman Mary Nichols.
Nichols said Gov. Brown questioned why California hasn’t gone forward with a plan to eventually ban internal-combustion vehicles.
“The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California,” she told Bloomberg.
Given the size of California, such a ban could disrupt the global auto industry. More than 2 million passenger vehicles were registered in California alone, and a ban could force automakers to develop electric vehicles as the new standard form of transportation in the state.
California aims to cut carbon-dioxide emissions measured in 1990 by 80 percent by 2050. Nichols tells Bloomberg that in order to meet that goal, the state needs to replace nearly all of its combustion vehicles with ones that use renewable energy sometime between 2040 and 2050. The state has the right to write its own pollution rules due to the 1970 Clear Air Act and waivers granted by the EPA. Because the Trump administration is unlikely to approve its proposals, however, California would have to take a different legal route. One example given by Nichols includes California regulating the types of cars that can be registered in the state or have access to highways.
“We certainly wouldn’t expect to get a waiver for that from the EPA,” she told Bloomberg. “I think we would be looking at using some of our other authorities to get that result.”
Other countries have announced the year when they are officially banning internal-combustion engines. China will be the closest when it stops sales of polluting vehicles in 2030. France and the U.K. will follow 10 years later in 2040.
Nichols didn’t specify when California expects to follow and concedes that it’s hard to tell when exactly it will happen. However, despite the difficulty to point out a target year, she believes it’s possible.