Statement: California enacting 100% zero-emission cars sales requirement by 2035

Media Contacts

Taran Volckhausen

Former Communications Associate, The Public Interest Network

Over one dozen states look to California when setting car emission standards

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Air Resources Board will vote on a rule this week that will require all new cars sold in California be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. The rulemaking follows an executive order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September, 2020 that set California as the first state in the country to require all new cars to have zero emissions. Since then, other states, including Massachusetts, have followed California’s lead by setting their own timelines for 100% zero-emission vehicle car sales.

The transportation sector in California accounts for more than 50% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. California leads the United States in electric vehicle adoption: the state has 39% of all EVs registered nationwide.

The required shift to zero-emission vehicles will likely have an outsized impact across the country because over one dozen states follow California’s lead when setting their auto emissions standards.

Laura Deehan, Environment California state director, issued the following statement in response:

“Once again, California is taking the driver’s seat when it comes to cleaning up our cars and is paving the way for other states to follow. Californians have long embraced climate action, but it’s become increasingly clear we need to do more. This policy shows that California will continue to lead the way when it comes to state action to address climate change.

“We applaud Gov. Newsom for his bold actions that have helped get us to this point, and we urge him to keep his foot on the accelerator on the road to 100% renewable energy and transportation.” 

Jenn Engstrom CALPIRG state director, issued the following statement: 

“Gas-powered cars are a major source of air pollution that creates toxic smog and threatens public health. We cannot address climate change without phasing out gas-powered transportation, and we applaud California for embracing the promise of clean transportation. On the heels of the landmark climate law passing Congress, it’s particularly encouraging that momentum to address the climate crisis is building in California and other states across the country.

“While we must invest in electrifying our transportation, we also need to embrace a wider range of transportation options, including investing in more transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure. By transforming our transportation system, we can enable Americans to drive less and live more.”