California’s planned transition to 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035 could be getting changes soon, as the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party today unanimously adopted a resolution to call for an end to new gas car sales in the state by 2030.

The move comes soon after several California cities, including Culver City, Oakland, and Berkeley, have adopted similar resolutions calling for a 2030 target.

The resolution calls for 100% zero-emission new vehicle sales by 2030 and points out several benefits of electric vehicles for the world and for California specifically.

It notes the recent IPCC report, which paints the bleakest picture yet of humanity’s failure to respond to the climate emergency that we are causing and that transportation is the largest contributor to climate change in the state of California. Along with the 2030 gas car phaseout, the resolution calls for a 45% reduction of CO2 emissions (from 2010 levels) by 2030.

The resolution also notes that California is a leader in the electric vehicle sector and that the economy of California benefits from faster EV adoption, that pollution disproportionately affects disadvantaged communities and thus reducing pollution will benefit them, and that leaders around the state and nation are calling for earlier phaseouts of internal combustion engines.

The California Democrats will send the resolution to Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

Last September, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order directing the state to end new gas car sales by 2035.

At the time, it was the most aggressive move yet announced in the US. Since then, some other states have joined with similar efforts, with most of them adopting the same 2035 end date. 12 state governors also sent a letter to President Biden asking for a national 2045 end date to gas car sales.

Washington State was one standout in these efforts, where the legislature passed a bill with a target date of 2030. That bill was later disappointingly vetoed by “climate advocate” Governor Inslee.

Around the world, there are several similar efforts brewing, particularly in Europe. Several European countries seem to be coalescing around a 2030 end date (with a few wanting to go even earlier, such as Norway with 2025), with the EU government as a whole targeting 2035 at the latest.

Electrek’s Take

As we’ve stated every time a 2035 ban gets discussed: Why not sooner?

We’re glad that the California Democratic Party seems to agree. A 2035 end date is simply not early enough, as many gas cars sold in 2035 will still keep polluting well past 2050, which is the date many are targeting for carbon neutrality (and we’d like to see that date get pushed forward as well).

A 2030 end date is at least in line with more forward-thinking nations, as California ought to be, given the state’s history as a worldwide environmental leader. It’s not the earliest target in the world (that’s Norway in 2025), but it only lags behind a couple of national and subnational entities. It also offers more than enough time for automakers to finally get it together and get on board with the EV transition, but without letting laggards off the hook easy for their intransigence (hi, Toyota!).

Besides, as we’ve said before: who’s going to want to buy a new gas car in 2035 anyway? With the pace of EV innovation and the upcoming transition away from gas stations, gas cars are just going to be worse, more expensive, harder to fuel, more restricted, and not looked upon kindly by people who are used to breathing fresher air. Transitions like these happen faster than a lot of people think, so we think that, even if California did stick with the 2035 end date, there would be few gas car sales in the state by then anyway.

So far, this is only a resolution of the party, not a bill for consideration. But as Democrats have supermajorities in both houses of the California legislature, this does stand a reasonable chance of being considered. We hope to see movement on this in an official capacity, beyond the party and extending into actual government policy.

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About the Author

Jameson Dow

Jameson has been driving electric vehicles since 2009, and has been writing about them and about clean energy for electrek.co since 2016.

You can contact him at jamie@electrek.co