California Accelerates Towards Zero-Emission Passenger Vehicles By 2035

California moved closer to a future with pollution-free cars, trucks and SUVS when the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced it is working on a proposal for reducing health-harming pollution from cars and ensuring all new vehicles are zero-emission by 2035.

CARB held a public workshop as part of the development of its Advanced Clean Cars II program. The workshop materials included, for the first time, a trajectory showing how the program could increase sales of zero-emission vehicles over time, ensuring 60 percent of new vehicles sold in 2030 are zero-emitting and ultimately eliminating tailpipe pollution from all new passenger vehicles sold in California by 2035.

“Today’s CARB workshop was historic. The plans discussed for protective next generation clean car standards are a breath of fresh air for Californians – literally,” said EDF senior attorney Alice Henderson. “These standards will save lives, reduce dangerous pollution, deliver jobs and save Californians’ money. We encourage CARB to swiftly adopt these standards, and we likewise urge the Biden administration to adopt a plan for the nation that matches the state’s protections.”

A strong, protective Advanced Clean Cars II program would mark a decisive return for California’s full authority to reduce dangerous pollution from its transportation sector. States have had that authority for half a century under the Clean Air Act, but the Trump administration unlawfully tried to invalidate California’s greenhouse gas and zero-emission vehicle standards – an action the Biden administration is now reconsidering.

California, meanwhile, has been pressing ahead with standards to reduce health-harming and climate pollution from cars, passenger trucks and SUVs. California Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order set a goal of reaching all zero-emission new vehicle sales by 2035. CARB is now exercising its long-standing and independent authority to establish protective Advanced Clean Car II standards that will eliminate tailpipe pollution from new vehicles sold by 2035.

EDF just released a new report showing potentially massive benefits for California. According to EDF’s analysis, if all new cars, SUVs and passenger trucks sold in California are zero-emission starting by 2035, it could:

  • Prevent up to 7,406 premature deaths in total by 2050
  • Eliminate more than 1.2 billion tons of climate pollution by 2050
  • Significantly reduce the smog-forming and particulate pollution that is linked to asthma attacks, bronchitis, and heart attacks
  • Save Californians who buy a new zero-emission car or SUV in 2035 more than $13,000 over the life of the vehicle, compared to a gas-powered car or SUV
  • Save the state of California $194 billion, cumulatively, by 2050 in health and economic benefits

CARB’s next public workshop will be in July. A detailed proposal for the Advanced Clean Cars II program could be unveiled by this fall.

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