Proposal would halt new gas-powered car sales by 2026

Megan Mojica
Staff Writer

The California Air Resources Board has begun drafting the Advanced Clean Cars II Proposal, a set of regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the number of zero-emission vehicles for sale. 

Under the proposal, California residents would not be able to buy new gasoline-powered vehicles starting in 2026, though they could still buy or sell used ones.

The proposal is an extension of the state’s Advanced Clean Cars program that went into effect in 2012 to reduce pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions through regulations and the introduction of low-emission vehicles by 2025. 

Dave Clergen, California Air Resources Board spokesman, said gasoline vehicles are responsible for about 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in California. This proposal would reduce them substantially. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week that California will continue to lead the way with bold policies and investments for climate change.

“Our Advanced Clean Cars Program is a critical tool for driving innovative ZEV technology,” Newsom said in an emailed statement. “And this proposed regulation puts us on a path to 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035. Backed by our historic $10 billion ZEV package, we’re ramping up efforts to clean the air in our communities and expand access and affordability for all.” 

There are two parts to the Air Resources Board proposal: The zero-emission vehicle program, and the low-emission vehicle program, which goes back to previous regulations dealing with internal combustion engines.

Millions of tons of particulate matter in three categories including organic reactive compounds, soot, and greenhouse gasses will be reduced under the proposed rule, which would have a positive impact on the health of Californians. 

Clergen said the change could result in 1,270 fewer deaths from cardiopulmonary deaths, 208 fewer hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease, 249 fewer hospital admissions for respiratory illness, and 639 fewer emergency room visits for asthma. 

“Now that does not sound like a lot… but you have to remember the mortality and illness assessment that we are doing only calculates a portion of the fine particulate matter and the impact it has,” Clergen said. 

Clergen added that the cost of maintenance and repairs for electric vehicles is up to 40% lower. 

“The overall project, we project, will cost a total of about $289 billion over the life of the program,” Clergen said. “But the total benefits will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $338 million, and that does not include health benefits because you can not quantify all of those.” 

The other big change is quality assurance. This is due to the reality that new electric vehicles are too expensive for many residents, making the secondary market critical, Clergen said.

Reactions to the proposal have been mixed; Clergen said some people believe they are moving too fast, particularly auto makers. 

Sarah MacLean, assistant professor of biology at the University, said she believes this proposal is a step in the right direction.

“It is not waiting to see what will happen once-or-if we run out of these gas resources,” MacLean said. “It is instead saying we see these changes in our environment and our human health… and we can’t wait around.” 

The proposal is set for initial consideration by the Air Resources Board on June 9. 

Megan Mojica can be reached at

Megan Mojica, a junior broadcast journalism major, is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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