12 State Governors Support A Ban on Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles in the U.S. by 2035
【Summary】The governors of California, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington State and Rhode Island and Hawaii called on President Joe Biden on Wednesday to back ending sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.
A major initiative of newly elected President Joe Biden are significant investments in clean energy in the United States. Biden is asking Congress for some $174 billion in government funding for electric vehicle initiatives, according to a White House fact sheet. The proposed investments are part of a much larger $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan. In addition, Congress is also being asked to extend tax credits to encourage more Americans to purchase zero emissions electric vehicles.
But Biden is being asked to do even more to fight climate change in the U.S., including banning the sale of internal combustion engine powered vehicles by 2035. The plan has the support of 12 U.S. state governors.
The governors of California, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington State and Rhode Island and Hawaii called on President Joe Biden on Wednesday to back ending sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.
In a letter that was viewed by Reuters, the governors, urged Biden to set standards "to ensure that all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold are zero-emission no later than 2035 with significant milestones along the way to monitor progress."
The governors argued that establishing a clear regulatory path to ensuring that all vehicles sold in the United States are zero-emissions "will finally clear the air and create high-road jobs."
The governors also want Biden to set standards and adopt incentives aimed at ensuring 100% zero-emission sales of medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045.
Without a regulatory framework that pushes automakers to produce zero emissions vehicles, the adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S. will be hindered. With regulation, the country is likely to fall behind the rest of the world in the adoption of EVs, especially in China and Europe, where there are already plans to phase out gas-powered vehicles and build more EVs to fight climate change.
States and some lawmakers believe that President Biden's endorsement of a phase-out date will speed the transition to EVs. The current EV adoption rate in the U.S. is just 2%. Without a clear plan, automakers continue to churn out highly profitable but gas-guzzling SUVs and pickups.
The ban of internal combustion engine vehicles was spearheaded by California in Sept 2020, after the state's Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order requiring that sales of all new passenger vehicles in the state to be zero-emission by 2035.
For California, it's an ambitious target that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35%, including an 80% decrease in harmful oxides of nitrogen emissions from vehicles statewide.
The transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California's carbon pollution, including 80% of smog-forming pollutants and 95% of toxic diesel emissions, the Governor's office said at the time.
However Biden's campaign said last fall he did not support California's phase-out plan.
The executive order in California also applies to heavily polluting diesel-powered trucks, although the timeline for trucks to be zero-emission extends out an additional decade to 2045 where feasible.
As of last month, over 70 House Democrats urged Biden to set tough emissions rules to ensure 60% of new passenger cars and trucks sold are zero-emission by 2030, while 10 U.S. senators urged Biden "to set a date by which new sales of fossil fuel vehicles will end entirely."
Whether or not Biden bans the sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2035, manyautomakers are doing it voluntarily, including U.S. automakers General Motors and Ford. In January, GM announced plans to phase out ICE powered passenger vehicles by 2035.
The automaker is investing $27 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles over the next five years, which represents an additional $7 billion up from the $20 billion the automaker pledged in March 2020.
As part of GM's plans, the automaker is converting its Detroit-Hamtramck factory in Michigan to produce only electric vehicles. The new factory has been renamed "Factory ZERO". GM's Spring Hill Manufacturing plant in Tennessee is also being retooled to build electric vehicles.
Swedish automaker Volvo, a unit of China's Zhejiang Geely Holding, said its entire car line-up will be fully electric by 2030. While GM's U.S. rival Ford Motor Co also said its European model lineup will be fully electric by 2030.
The governors also said in their letter they want Biden to boost fuel economy which were standards rolled back under President Donald Trump and provide states "substantial funding for investment in charging and fueling infrastructure." They also urged removal of or raising the EV tax credit limits per manufacturer.
The federal EV tax credit for the purchase of a zero emissions, battery powered vehicle is currently $7,500, but its limited to the first 200,000 qualifying vehicles before its begins to phase out. The state governors want the 200,000 vehicle limit raised to encourage more people to purchase EVs.
Biden is asking Congress to "give consumers point-of-sale rebates and tax incentives to buy American-made EVs, while ensuring that these vehicles are affordable for all families and manufactured by workers with good jobs," the White House said.
The EV tax credit helped electric automaker Tesla gain a foothold in the U.S. auto market and aided the company in selling its more expensive electric cars. But the California company hit the 200,000 vehicle limit in 2018. The EV tax credit officially expired for Tesla on Dec 31, 2019.
The bold EV push from the state governors has also been met with resistance by the leader of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, which represents many auto workers in the U.S.
Rory Gamble, the president of the UAW, has expressed caution about the shift to EVs, noting it takes fewer workers to build EVs than gas-powered vehicles and said to Reutuers that "workers will disproportionately suffer if we do not get it right."
In a statement last month, Gamble wrote that the U.S. government must ensure the transition to EVs "is stable, reliable and creates quality union wage jobs and flexible to market demand not relying on a one-size fits all solution."
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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