Eight States Pledge To Reduce New Gas Car Sales To Zero By 2050

Early this month eight U.S. states and five countries pledged to eliminate the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2050.

In a statement made Dec. 3, 2015 at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, California along with Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont pledged to ban the sale of new cars powered primarily by gasoline and diesel fuels by 2050.

“Thirteen North American and European governments announced today that they will strive to make all new passenger vehicles in their jurisdictions zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) by no later than 2050,” said a statement issued after the decision. “Achieving this will accelerate the global transition to ZEVs and could reduce transportation sector climate impacts by more than 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year by 2050, lowering global vehicle emissions by about 40 percent.”

Traditional hybrid vehicles would still be permitted under the rules proposed for 34 years in the future.

Each of the eight states has adopted California’s zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandates, issued by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

The countries of Germany, Norway, Quebec, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom also joined in on the pledge made by the International Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance, established in 2014.

According to Alex Barnum, deputy secretary, Communications and External Affairs for the California Environmental Protection Agency, this decision however is not meant to be interpreted as a “ban.”

A few news outlets did interpret this as a “ban,” but Barnum said the goal is to push for the change by 2050 with persuasion short of a mandate. The ZEV Alliance would rather work cooperatively with stakeholders toward the long-term goal, Barnum said.

Along with the move away from new gasoline and diesel car sales, the alliance also stated it would take the following actions to promote the sales of ZEVs: provide incentives to stimulate ZEV purchases, invest in further growth of ZEV infrastructure, and implement policies requiring deployment of ZEVs.

These efforts would assist in achieving a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions more than one billion tons per year by 2050, said the ZEV Alliance.

In a similar announcement made in October, Toyota Motors Corp. stated a goal of selling only hybrid and fuel cell vehicles by 2050 in an effort to reduce emissions. Through the end of 2014, Toyota had sold over eight million hybrids across the globe, making it the world’s top seller of alternative-fuel vehicles.
It remains to be seen whether the ZEV alliance has the legal authority to impose such a sales restriction, however.