California is on track to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles in the state. The Advanced Clean Cars II regulations, approved Aug. 25 by the California Air Resources Board, require all new cars, trucks and SUVs sold in California to be zero-emissions by 2035.
While the California rule is far from a national reform, it affects the largest car-buying market in the U.S. and is already being adopted by some other states. Does this mean you will be forced to buy an electric car or EV? No. But the pressure on the car industry.
What is the California rule?
Under the new rules, California has set benchmarks for new vehicle sales beginning in the 2026 model year when 35% of new vehicle sales in the state must be battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell or hybrid vehicles. Currently, more than 16% of new vehicles sold in California are zero-emission or hybrid models, according to California regulators.
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With that advantage in the state, Jessica Caldwell, executive director of information research at the automotive website Edmunds, believes automakers will be able to achieve the first benchmark. But realizing California’s goals also depends on improving the infrastructure that supports more electric vehicles.
“Although California’s net-zero emissions ordinance could be described as a fairly aggressive goal when it was first introduced in 2020, automakers have long been preparing for an electric future, and the industry has made notable progress since then.” , Caldwell said in “If automakers can adjust production, sufficient investments are made in charging infrastructure and the grid, and financial incentives become more available, this milestone should be achievable — if not surpassed.”
The standards increase gradually each year after 2026, requiring electric or hybrid vehicles to account for more than two-thirds of vehicle sales by 2030 and 100% by 2035.
The new standards will also aim to make zero-emission vehicles more reliable and long-lasting, so that consumers actually want to buy an electric car or hybrid instead of their favorite gas-powered models.
Before the new rules go into effect, the state will have to request a waiver from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which would allow it to set stricter rules than the federal government.
Don’t you live in California? This could be your future
When it comes to protecting the environment, California is known as the legislator of fashion. Therefore, although these rules are now exceptional, they are likely to be adopted in other states and supported at the federal level.
Seventeen states have adopted California’s past zero-emission vehicle standards and could follow suit with these new rules. (Some already have, including Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Washington.) Those 18 states accounted for 40% of the new car market in 2021, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association’s Financial Profile of New Car Dealers report. in the USA
The Inflation Reduction Act focuses on the federal government’s priorities for reducing carbon emissions. Initiatives funded by the law include incentives for green energy and electric vehicles. The new law, signed by President Joe Biden on August 16, restored the tax credit for consumers who buy qualifying new electric vehicles and added a credit for the purchase of used electric vehicles. But the incentives come with a set of qualifications designed to encourage the auto industry to strengthen its supply chain domestically, and most electric cars on the market now are not eligible.
Yes, you can leave your car running on gas
Rules like California’s apply specifically to the production of new cars by automakers. They don’t dictate what people can drive, and the current rules don’t affect the sale of gas-powered used cars.
We’re also more than a decade away from the goal of seeing only electric models in every fleet. So if you’re going to buy a new car in the next few years, you still have a lot to think about whether it should be an electric car.
Here are some ideas to help you think through your next car purchase.
What car can you afford?
Price remains the top factor for most people when buying a car, says Carl Brauer, executive analyst at ISeeCars.com. Whether you’re looking at a new or used car, an electric or gas-powered model, make sure you know how much you can afford to spend.
According to Edmunds, the average price of an electric vehicle sold through a dealership in July was $62,893. That compares to an average of $47,198 for all vehicles that month.
Electric vehicle tax credits can help bring this technology into your price range, but there are rules about which cars are eligible. As production ramps up, electric car prices are likely to drop. But that could still be years away.
On the other hand, as California’s standards tighten starting in 2026, there will be fewer gas-powered cars there. That could drive up prices for those new and used models, Brower says. If you want to stick with the gas-powered model for a while longer, he suggests buying the time sooner rather than later if you can afford it.
“If there’s anything to pick up now, you should probably buy your traditional car before 2026 because they’re only going to go up in price,” Brower says.
Which car suits your life?
If you’re thinking about switching to an electric car, there are a few other factors to consider, including how far you drive, whether you’ll be able to conveniently charge it, and what you’ll be using the car for.
When it comes to EV infrastructure, not all hometowns are created equal. If you live in Los Angeles, you may know of several charging stations nearby that you can use to power your car during your daily commute. But this is not the case everywhere.
How far you can go on a single charge, as well as the variety of electric vehicles available, will increase over time, Caldwell said in a phone interview.
“We’re still in the early stages of electric vehicle adoption,” Caldwell says. “Electric cars will become more popular. There will be more infrastructure. I think that’s something that ordinary people will notice.”
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