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Gas-Powered Car Ban

STANDSTILL Traffic is backed up on California’s San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge on August 24. JUSTIN SULLIVAN—GETTY IMAGES

California is phasing out gas-powered vehicles. On August 25, officials said all new cars sold in the state will have to be electric or hydrogen-powered by 2035. Transportation accounts for about half of California’s greenhouse-gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. The policy could cut car emissions in half by 2040.

Major automakers are eager to ramp up production of electric vehicles. But they say meeting California’s target won’t be easy. The state has only 80,000 vehicle chargers, a fraction of what it will need. And supply-chain issues—such as getting materials to make batteries—will be a challenge.

“It’s going to be very hard getting to 100%,” Daniel Sperling says about going electric by 2035. He’s director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis.

Another problem, critics say, is that most people can’t afford electric cars. Officials say prices will eventually go down. “We will not set Californians up to fail,” says Tania Pacheco-Werner of the California Air Resources Board. “We will not set up the other states who want to follow this regulation to fail.”

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