Largest US auto market moving away from internal combustion engine: NPR

The California Air Resource Board is expected to approve a plan on Thursday to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. The state will have interim goals of 35% zero-emission cars by 2026 and 68% here 2030.



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The largest auto market in the United States is moving away from the internal combustion engine. Regulators are expected to approve a plan today to ban sales of new gas-powered cars in California by 2035. NPR’s Nathan Rott reports that the move could have far-reaching effects on the auto industry and also on climate change .

NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: Cars, trucks, SUVs — transportation like the ones that constantly clutter the streets of Los Angeles are the biggest source of climate-warming greenhouse gases in the country. To slow climate change, California regulators say they need to shut down traffic that looks like this.

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ROTT: Lauren Sanchez is California Governor Gavin Newsom’s senior climate adviser.

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LAUREN SANCHEZ: This regulation, the first in the world, is a game-changer for California, putting the state on an accelerated path in our transition to zero-emission vehicles, tackling carbon pollution and ending the pipe exhaust.

ROTT: And that could be a game-changer for the other 13 states, including New York, which generally follow California’s lead on tailpipe emissions. All of these states encompass a good third of the US auto market.

JESSICA CALDWELL: So I think for automakers, they’re probably going to look at that and think that’s kind of what they’re going to be targeting for most of the country.

ROTT: Jessica Caldwell is the executive director of insight at automotive data company Edmunds. She says automakers don’t want to make cars for one part of the country and others for another. They want uniformity. And globally, electric vehicles, EVs…

CALDWELL: Electric vehicles are definitely the future of the automobile. I don’t think there is any doubt about that, especially when you look at what has been put in place by President Biden. I think it’s just kind of, when is it really going to happen?

ROTT: Congress and President Biden just approved $370 billion for clean energy programs with the passage of the Cutting Inflation Act, a law that provides tax credits to people seeking to buy certain types of electric vehicles, money that will be badly needed if it is low and middle-income people have to buy cleaner cars. Liane Randolph chairs the California Air Resources Board.

LIANE RANDOLPH: We recognize that not everyone will buy a very expensive new car. But we also know that prices will go down in the future, that the supply of vehicles will increase in the future.

ROTT: And that the more affordable aftermarket for electric vehicles will only grow with them.

Nathan Rott, NPR News, Los Angeles.

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