EPA Questions Legality of California’s Plan To Ban Gasoline Powered Vehicles By 2035

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raised concerns last week over California’s plan to ban the sales of new gasoline and diesel-powered passenger cars by 2035, arguing the mandate is unworkable and likely illegal.

The California ban is an ambitious step to bolster electric vehicles and slash greenhouse-gas emissions. The ban is aimed at new-car sales and will not prohibit Californians from owning or selling existing gas-powered cars.

In a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsome, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler expressed concern that the electric vehicle mandate would strain California’s already overloaded electric grid.

Wheeler questioned how California plans to handle the unprecedented increase in electricity demand that will result from the ban when the state is already experiencing rolling blackouts and seeking additional power from neighboring states.

Wheeler also said the ban is likely illegal in the wake of the Trump Administration’s recent revocation of California’s Clean Air Act waiver that allowed the state to set its own air pollution standards.

California is currently suing the Administration over the revocation. If successful, California would be the first U.S. state to ban gas and diesel powered vehicles.

However, some states could soon follow California’s lead. Twelve states already adopt California clean air standards (NJ, CT, WA, VT, NY, ME, RI, MA, OR, Pennsylvania, MD, and DC), though none have announced similar bans as yet.

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