California legislature to float plan for ditching gasoline by 2040

October 10, 2017

The California state legislature is set to consider a bill that calls for the ban of new gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicle sales by 2040.

If successful, the bill would be the first of its kind in the United States, though it follows several similar proposals in Europe. China is currently the world’s leader in electric car sales, thanks to the government’s heavy push of automakers toward an electric future.

“The market is moving this way. The entire world is moving this way,” California state legislature assemblyman Phil Ting, whose district includes portions of San Francisco, said in a statement. “At some point, you need to set a goal and put a line in the sand.” He intends to introduce the legislation in January 2018, once the Legislature reconvenes.

Opponents argue that many buyers won’t be able to afford electric vehicles by 2040, and point to the above-average cost of EVs as a major obstacle to overcome if the state wants to go fully-electric.

California, a longtime leader in the U.S. when it comes to environmentally-friendly legislation, already approved plans to stimulate electric vehicle sales, with a target of having electric vehicles account for 15 percent of new vehicles sales by 2025. However, figures have fallen short, as the incentive programs have proved too little in the face of consistently inexpensive gasoline to persuade buyers to switch to electric drivetrains en-masse.

If the plan to shift the market toward an all-electric lineup is to be successful, California’s state-sponsored incentives would need to have a larger impact. That’s something Ting is already attempting to do, as he works to increase incentives for new car buyers.

“California is used to being first. But we’re trying to catch up to this,” he said.

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