Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed an executive order that will prohibit the sales of gasoline-powered vehicles. Under the order, all new passenger vehicles will have to be zero-emission by 2035. The order also calls for all medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to be zero-emission by 2045. All off-road vehicles and equipment such as tractors will transition to zero-emission by 2035 where feasible. The California Air Resources Board will be in charge of carrying out the executive order. The order issued on September 23 is already generating significant concern within the agricultural industry.
“Kicking this mandate to a regulatory agency which bypasses the authority of a state legislature, should be offensive to any state legislator and citizen who believes California should still have a representative form of government,” said Jamie Johansson, California Farm Bureau Federation President. “When you have this number of executive orders and one of this magnitude, you do really feel left out of the process and it isn’t a way to run the state.”
While 2020 is an atypical year, Governor Newsom has issued nearly 50 executive orders. Johansson explained that the timing of the latest executive order is puzzling, given the current state of affairs. California is facing a multi-trillion-dollar deficit as the state continues to navigate COVID-19 challenges. Johansson said that a mandate on the sales of gasoline-powered vehicles may not be the most pressing issue. “Unprecedented wildfires, homelessness, housing, you name it, California’s experienced it. So why this and why now?” Johansson asked.
Governor Newsom cited transportation for more than 50 percent of California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In the announcement of the order, the Newsom administration believes the move would reduce GHG emissions by 35 percent. There are no projections on the impact the order will have or will cost Californians to implement.
“I guess one of the goals of getting less cars on the road is less people living in California,” Johansson noted. “Again, it’s a piling on of unaffordability in California and it really is sad for those of us who know what California can do and the economic engine that it can be.”