Cars, trucks and SUVs that run on gasoline are said to be among the largest producers of carbon emissions, which are classified as environmental pollutants.
Margo Oge, an electric vehicle (EV) expert who headed the Environmental Protection Agency's transportation emissions program under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said this move is huge. "California will be the only government in the world that mandates zero-emission vehicles. It is unique."
The California Air Resources Board, which issued the rule, will require that 100 percent of all new cars sold in the state by 2035 be free of the fossil fuel emissions. It sets interim targets requiring that 35 percent of new passenger vehicles sold in the state by 2026 produce zero emissions, but that the number will climb to 68 percent by 2030.
This move came on top of an expansive new climate law signed by President Joe Biden that would invest $370 billion in spending and tax credits on clean energy programs.
Around 16 percent of cars sold in California in the first three months of this year were already electric. And over the past 12 years, California has provided over $1 billion in rebates for the sale of 478,000 electric, plug-in or hybrid vehicles.
At least 12 other states are also expected to potentially adopt the new California zero-emissions vehicle mandate relatively soon. Another five states, which follow California's broader vehicle pollution reduction program, are expected to adopt the rule in a year or so. If those states follow through, the restrictions on gasoline-vehicle sales would apply to about one-third of the U.S. market. (Related: Electric cars aren't going to save the Earth – or California.)
The enactment of the law is set to help the United States cut its emissions by 40 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade. However, it will still not be enough to eliminate U.S. emissions by 2050, which is the target climate scientists say all major economies must reach if the world is to stop the catastrophic and deadly impacts of climate change.
John Bozzella, who heads the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents large U.S. and foreign automakers, said California's new EV sale mandates would be "extremely challenging" to meet.
"Whether or not these requirements are realistic or achievable is directly linked to external factors like inflation, charging and fuel infrastructure, supply chains, labor, critical mineral availability and pricing and the ongoing semiconductor shortage," Bozzella said via email.
He also said automakers wanted to see more EVs on the roads, but called on state and the federal government to do more to address issues, such as the ability to mine critical minerals like lithium and cobalt in the U.S., affordability of EVs as well as equitable access to fast charging.
While EVs can help reduce tailpipe emissions on the road, that doesn't mean they are completely green. They are charged on coal-heavy grids, so they still contribute to air pollution. In fact, they may even be worse for the environment than gas-burning vehicles.
Many countries are now pushing to clean up their electric grids, but it will take time before grids become completely carbon-free. And even if governments expedite the shift to clean energy, the fact remains that EVs are not 100 percent green.
Batteries that power EVs require raw materials like lithium and cobalt, which are usually sourced through environmentally destructive mining practices.
Cobalt mining, for example, generates hazardous tailings and slags that can leach into the environment. And research shows that communities near mines are exposed to high levels of cobalt and other metals. In addition, extracting metal from ores requires a process called smelting, which can emit sulfur oxide and other air pollutants.
Watch the video below for more information about the use of electric cars and Biden's electric vehicle tax credit system.
This video is from the SecureLife channel on Brighteon.com.