What this means for drivers and cars

Yesterday, California took a historic step that will help the state reduce carbon emissions while fighting climate change, and may even help reduce respiratory illnesses. The most populous US state has passed a resolution banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.

As CNBC reports, the resolution was released Thursday by the California Air Resources Board and was hailed by the agency as a move that will cut pollution from cars and light trucks in half by 2040. But what? What does California’s ban on sales of new gas-powered cars mean for drivers and automakers? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Is California banning all gas-powered cars in 2035? No. California only prohibits the sale of new cars powered solely by internal combustion engines. Gas-powered cars that are already on the road by 2035 will still be legal to own and drive.
  • But Californians won’t be able to buy a new gas-powered car anymore, will they? It’s true. In 2035, you will no longer be able to go to a state car dealership and buy a gas-powered car or light truck.
  • Can I still sell my used petrol car after 2035? Yes. Individuals who own a gasoline-powered car after 2035 will still be able to sell them on the second-hand market.
  • Will automakers still be able to sell hybrids after 2035? Yes, but not as they can today. Automakers will still be able to sell plug-in hybrids as long as they don’t exceed 20% of all car sales.
  • Do automakers have until 2035 to start making changes? No. Resolution 2035 actually starts in 2026 for automakers and phased out gas-powered cars over a 10-year period. The resolution states that 35% of car sales must be battery or hydrogen vehicles by 2026. The percentage increases to 68% by 2030. The total ban on gasoline vehicles begins in 2035.
  • Will California’s ban be smooth? We hope, but there are challenges. The successful transition to battery-powered or hydrogen-powered vehicles depends a lot on how quickly California can deploy charging infrastructure across the state. Converting gas stations into charging stations will take time and money. Inflationary costs can also threaten the transition, as can supply chain issues, such as the current chip crisis.
  • Will California’s decision impact other states? Most likely. California often leads the way when it comes to automotive regulations. As CNBC notes, California was the first state to institute exhaust emission standards since 1966. And generally, eventually, as California wants, so does the country.