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California Gov. Newsom bans gas-powered cars by 2035 as electric vehicle sales slump

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has banned the sale of gas-powered automobiles under an executive order “directing state regulators to develop new regulations to meet the deadline” he set for 100 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

Newsom said the world was facing a climate crisis.

“NEW: We’re facing a climate crisis,” he tweeted. “We need bold action. CA is phasing out the internal combustion engine. By 2035 every new car sold in CA will be an emission free vehicle. Cars shouldn’t give our kids asthma. Make wildfires worse. Melt glaciers. Or raise sea levels.”  

The Associated Press reported that White House a spokesman challenged Newsom’s plan, while Biden’s response was milquetoast.

“Meantime, White House spokesman Judd Deere said flatly: ‘President Trump won’t stand for it.’ And Larry Kudlow, Trump’s economic adviser, labeled it a ‘very extreme’ position that he doesn’t think other states will follow,” reports the AP.

A spokesman for the Biden campaign said simply that the plan would create “good-paying union jobs, dominate a fast-growing market worldwide, and meet the demands of the climate crisis.”

Newsom’s plan echoes a similar plan by Barack Obama to put one million electric vehicles on the road by the end of his presidency. Obama used billions of dollars in federal subsidies on the promotion of electric vehicles, yet the U.S. only had about 400,000 electric vehicles on the road by the end of his presidency.

Former GM vice chairman Bob Lutz, who was responsible for developing the failed Chevy Volt, said that it would take gas prices of around $8 per gallon for electric vehicles to make sense. In today’s market, electric vehicles cost consumers a big premium over gas-powered cars.  

“If gasoline was $8 a gallon, consumers would amortize the costs of an electric vehicle pretty quickly,” he told Reuters. “But at $1.50 a gallon, who is going to be willing to pay an $8,000 or $10,000 premium?”

To some extent, the failures of the previous efforts to sell electric vehicles necessitated the Newsom’s executive order.

“Many states, led by California, have imposed zero-emission vehicle mandates. California has set an ambitious goal to have 1.5 million such vehicles on its roads by 2025,” said Reuters in 2016.

So far, however, the state only has registered 550,000 zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) since 2010 says the California Air Resource Board, or 55,000 per year. While the numbers have gone up in recent years — thanks to federal and state subsidies that pay the $8,000-$10,000 premium over gas-powered cars — the last few quarters have seen the sales decline sharply in the state.

“Cumulative sales of ZEVs dropped in the third and fourth quarters, compared to the same quarters in 2018. The fourth-quarter numbers were off 32.2 percent, show data released Monday by Veloz, a nonprofit promoting the transition to clean vehicles that periodically updates sales figures for ZEVs,” says the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Consequently, Newsom had only one choice: Force consumers to stop buying the gas-powered, economical cars they prefer.

To stop the seas from rising.

PHOTO: AGUSTIN PAULLIER/AFP via Getty Images

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