California came first, then New Jersey, and now…
California made global headlines last September when it announced a bold and perhaps controversial plan to ban sales of new combustion-engine vehicles by 2035. Governor Gavin Newsom signed the executive order on the hood of a new Ford Mustang Mach-E. For decades, the Golden State has issued more stringent environmental laws than what the EPA called for, much to the chagrin of some automakers. But times are changing.
Only a month after California’s ban declaration, New Jersey announced a similar plan that also calls to reduce state emissions by 80 percent by 2050. And now, a third state has joined the party. Massachusetts has declared it too will ban sales of gas-powered vehicles by 2035.
Governor Charlie Baker has just released a 2050 decarbonization road map which includes a passenger car emissions reduction as 27 percent of statewide emissions are directly caused by light-duty passenger vehicles. The ultimate goal is to reach net-zero fossil-fuel emissions by 2050. Of course, the necessary EV infrastructure is nowhere close to being ready, but Baker’s plan includes expanding the state’s public’s charging infrastructure so it won’t be an issue for drivers who don’t have a private garage to charge their vehicle nightly. This combustion-engine sales ban trend is expected to continue to expand in the coming few years.
The fact that three highly-populated states have committed to an electric vehicle future is something automakers cannot ignore. The passenger car market share in California, for example, is an estimated 44.8 percent versus 31.2 percent nationwide.
It’s also important to note that Massachusetts’ ban, like that in California and New Jersey, does not outright ban gas-powered vehicle ownership, nor will it forbid sales on the used vehicle market. It strictly applies to new vehicles only. With President-elect Biden assuming office later this month, the country is expected to embark on a wider plan to not only increase the use of electric vehicles in both the public and private spheres but also lay the groundwork for a significant overhaul of the entire transportation industry.
Automakers, including GM and Ford, already see the writing on the wall and have made clear they’re onboard with Biden’s goals.