California could ban all new fossil fuel cars from 2040 under a bill introduced this week by Assemblymember Phil Ting, a Democrat of San Francisco. If it passes, the Clean Cars 2040 act would require all new cars sold in the state to be zero emissions vehicles. Ting said in a statement, “We’re at an inflection point: we’ve got to address the harmful emissions that cause climate change.”
AB 1745, or the Clean Cars 2040 Act, would require every passenger vehicle sold in California to be zero emissions after January 1, 2040. Ting said fossil fuel vehicles are responsible for almost 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, so “achieving the goal of electrification of transportation is crucial for the health of our people and the planet.” NextGen America president Tom Steyer said polluting cars are California’s biggest source of carbon emissions.
The bill would not apply to commercial vehicles greater than 10,000 pounds, just passenger cars. It also wouldn’t apply to cars owned by people in other states moving to California.
California hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent under 1990 levels by 2030. Governor Jerry Brown aims to have 1.5 million zero emission cars on the streets by 2025, and there are almost 300,000 EVs registered in CA already. But the state still has a ways to go: the San Francisco Chronicle said in 2016 that while 2.1 million new cars were sold, only 1.9 percent of those were zero emissions.
The bill already has support from some environmental groups. Earthjustice staff attorney Adrian Martinez said in Ting’s statement, “Reducing fossil fuels emissions should be California’s highest priority. With this legislation, California will be taking combustion polluting vehicles off the road…helping us to finally address air pollution and better equipping us to combat climate change. I urge our state’s leaders to pass this important legislation.”