California is expected to become the first state to ban the sale of new light-duty passenger cars, trucks and SUVs  powered by internal combustion vehicles from 2035. 

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is expected to adopt the Advanced Clean Cars II proposal today, effectively prohibiting any driver from buying a new light-duty vehicle that utilizes an internal combustion engine for its powertrain from 2035.

The policy also sets interim targets for the California ban on ICE vehicles, stating that 35 percent of new passenger vehicle sales in California must consist of zero-emissions vehicles by 2026, with the requirement growing to 68 percent by 2030.

The new policy, which was detailed on August 24 in a press conference, was described by California governor Doug Newsom as "one of the most significant steps to the elimination of the tailpipe as we know it."

"Our kids are going to act like it's a rotary phone, or changing the channel on a television (…) The climate crisis is solvable if we focus on the big, bold steps necessary to stem the tide of carbon pollution."

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E Ice White Edition
2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E and Mustang Coupe with the Ice White Appearance Package

Liane Randolph, chair of the California Air Resources Board, said the proposal will deliver "a more than 50 percent reduction in pollution from cars and light trucks by 2040," moving the state closer to a future where there are no vehicle emissions at all.

If California's new policy is voted today, it is widely expected to accelerate the global shift to electric vehicles. That's not just because California is the largest auto market in the United States; the state also sets the tone for more than a dozen other states, which all conform to CARB's auto emissions standards.

If those states, which include Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C., follow through and ban the sale of new ICE cars from 2035, the restrictions would apply to about a third of the United States auto market, The New York Times reports. Most of these states are expected to adopt similar rules.

It's important to note that California's policy does not ban the sale of any used vehicles and does not affect the right of ICE owners to still drive on state roads.

The Golden State is allowed to impose stricter tailgate emission standards than the federal Environmental Protection Agency requires via a federal waiver under the Clean Air Act. Under former US President Donald Trump, the EPA stripped California of its right to set its own climate tailpipe standards. However, the Biden administration restored that right earlier this year.

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