How California’s Internal Combustion Ban Could Affect 17 Other US States

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Photo: Christian Mehlführer, User: Chmehl, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fun fact: California was the first state to adopt California’s emissions regulations. Over the years, the state has changed its laws several times to make them stricter, but the latest set of regulations is the toughest: After 2035, the sale of new fossil-fuel cars will be banned in the state.

This is not strictly an emissions regulation. California law covers car and truck exhaust in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations, Section 1961 (13 CCR § 1961 if you’re mean). The most relevant update of this section, 13 CCR § 1961.4never sets a hard cap of zero tailpipe emissions – it doesn’t need to.

The work to completely ban gas-powered cars is found in the next section, 13 CCR § 1962. This section covers the automakers’ fleets and the percentage of vehicles sold in California that must be zero-emissions. The latest update, 13 CCR § 1962.4, requires that 100% of vehicles sold by a car manufacturer in 2035 be zero emissions. Actual exhaust emission regulations never go to zero because fleet percentage laws take over — a distinction that isn’t important to California buyers, but one that matters to other states that imitate. California rules.

You see, of the 17 other states that look to California for emissions rules, only 15 follow California Air Resource Board legislation on zero-emission vehicle fleet percentages. Even among those 15, however, things get weirder and more technical from state to state.

Kevin A. Perras