Governors Urge Biden To Order 100% Zero-Emission Car Sales By 2035

NPR – Governors from a dozen states are asking President Biden to ban the sale of cars and light trucks that emit greenhouse gases by 2035.

In a letter to the president, the governors of California, New York, North Carolina and nine other states — all but one a Democrat — asked for the change ahead of a White House climate summit, scheduled to begin Thursday.

“By establishing a clear regulatory path to ensuring that all vehicles sold in the United States are zero-emission, we can finally clear the air and create high-road jobs,” the governors wrote in the letter.

“Moving quickly towards a zero-emission transportation future will protect the health of all communities,” they added.

Between now and the target date, the governors called for “significant milestones along the way to monitor progress.”

The other signatories were Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, the lone Republican, and the governors of Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Rhode Island and Hawaii.

The 12 governors also called on the Biden administration to set standards and adopt incentives to ensure 100% zero-emission sales of medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045.

While the letter urges a transition to entirely zero-emission vehicles by that date, it does not specifically call for the elimination of gasoline-powered vehicles.

The 2035 goal matches one already adopted by California. The other states whose governors signed have ambitious goals to increase zero-emissions vehicles, such as electric vehicles, and/or invest heavily in such technology in the coming years.

The letter follows similar appeals in March from 71 House lawmakers and 10 senators, all Democrats, urging Biden to reinstate Obama-era vehicle emissions standards through 2025 and do more to move the U.S. in the direction of electric vehicles. They urged the president “to set a date by which new sales of fossil fuel vehicles will end entirely.”

In 2020, electric vehicles made up less than 2% of the U.S. car and light-truck market, according to IHS Markit, but the research firm expects that figure to surpass 3.5% nationally in 2021.

The United Auto Workers, in a letter to the White House in March, urged caution, saying any plan to increase zero-emission vehicles should take “the present market realities into consideration,” according to Reuters.

“Neither the current trajectory of consumer adoption of EVs, nor existing levels of federal support for supply- and demand-side policies, is sufficient to meet our goal of a net-zero carbon transportation future,” it said.

Last month, Biden invited the leaders of 40 countries to participate in a virtual White House summit to “underscore the urgency — and the economic benefits — of stronger climate action.”

As part of the meeting, the administration is expected to promise to reduce U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions sharply, help poorer countries pay for the costs of climate change and encourage the rest of the world to announce new, bolder climate goals.

The summit, set to run Thursday and Friday, is part of Biden’s effort to reverse course from the Trump administration, which withdrew from the Paris climate accord and sought to weaken auto emissions standards and generally roll back environmental regulations.

Biden has pledged to restore much of what Trump undid. Among other steps since taking office, he has had the U.S. rejoin the Paris Agreement.

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12 Comments

  • Internet Funny Man

    I find it quite interesting that the New Mexico Governor signed this letter considering that the southeastern portion of the state relies heavily on income from fossil fuels, and such a proposal would almost certainly reduce that income. Additionally, many of her constituents probably cannot afford an electric car or gasoline truck since those are typically much more expensive.

    Aside from the more local concerns, this proposal would still be less helpful in fighting climate change than these governors likely predict because the electricity to power these cars would still be produced by fossil fuels, so it should be more important to start moving electricity production to zero-carbon sources, and nuclear would be the only sustainable option in the near future.

    • 4:25 pm - April 21, 2021

  • Funky Boots

    This is another article that makes me happy about the future of climate change, but I’m afraid I’m a bit dubious about this one. The amount of pressure that I think automobile manufacturers will put against this is huge, and I don’t think it could realistically be acted upon as long as lobbying is a thing. But I still appreciate the effort, and I’m glad New Mexico signed the letter.

    • 7:26 pm - April 21, 2021

  • irides

    I am very pleased that governers are encouraging President Biden to do this but what about the consequences of switching to all electric vehicles when our electricity is not yet green? Will our electricity be green by 2035? As of now the majority of electricity comes from fossil fuels, which release large amounts of C02. If we wanted to make electric cars be less harmful to the environment than gas cars we would have to make sure that our electricity is green too. Also I am worried that a future president may, if Biden chooses to do this, end the ban. If we want a future for our planet we can not have it so a new president can undo all the good things a previous president has done for the environment. These change need to be more solidified.

    • 10:46 pm - April 21, 2021

  • zebrafan1010101

    This looks like a good sign for the future. But there is one thing that will hold all of this back, and as the article mentions it, “Neither the current trajectory of consumer adoption of EVs, nor existing levels of federal support for supply- and demand-side policies, is sufficient to meet our goal of a net-zero carbon transportation future.” I think that is a huge issue that will prevent us from going 100% zero-emission. Also the fact that only 1 republican state has signed the letter makes it look like that it will be very hard to get the other republican states to sign it. But hey, anything is possible, and I would not be surprised if 100% zero-emission went into effect in 15-20 years.

    • 8:15 am - April 22, 2021

  • Mr. Steez

    Going greenhouse gas emission free may be a tall order to fulfill by 2035. I do think this is the direction the automotive industry is leaning despite the push back from automotive enthusiasts. I understand the appeal of green house gas emission free vehicles but is it really realistic? I think its very up in the air for now.

    • 1:58 pm - April 22, 2021

  • OhHey

    I’m curious what the actual steps the government plans on taking to encourage this type of change. Is there a plan or is it simply an idea right now? I also wonder if this is the best step for the US to take to lessen its carbon emissions, or is there something better and more efficient for us to do?

    • 4:26 pm - April 22, 2021

  • RMS

    I believe these kinds of cars only roaming around would be truly a fantasy because it would help Earth, however, setting a time for it to be finished would be pushing it. Maybe after creating reliable greenhouse gas free cars, then set a date or something would be more realistic. This heavy toll towards mechanics and more would also change our society and economy which is something to look out for.

    • 10:56 pm - April 22, 2021

  • politics0945

    I am so glad that our government is trying its hardest to fix our planet. I believe that climate change is such a huge problem and will get worse if we do not fix it now. However, I believe it takes time to get to that point of eliminating all cars with emmisson. It’s definetly a step in the right direction, however, I feel like the only reason they said 2035 is to keep the people happy, because there is a very small chance we can actually do this task in 14 years. I also am glad that Biden rejoin the Paris Climate accord, because it is crucial we do everything in our power to help.

    • 7:18 am - April 23, 2021

  • eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    Zero-emission vehicles are certainly better for the environment than other vehicles, but it does not mean that they don’t have their fair share of problems. The manufacturing of these vehicles will take a lot of materials and construction will probably use fossil fuels to power them. Although they run on electricity, that electricity still has to come from somewhere and the most prevalent sources are still fossil fuels. As lovely as the sentiment is for zero-emission vehicles, it may not be as good as they all think. This isn’t to say that I support gasoline fueled cars, but there needs to be some understanding of what exactly goes into making these eco-cars and how damaging that might be to the environment. It will be a benefit to switch to these cars and stop the production of all gasoline fed cars, but the effects will most likely not be as quick or good as many might like.

    • 9:22 am - April 23, 2021

  • ChiliChimichanga

    Although the benefits of electric cars are abundant, it doesn’t seem entirely beneficial to ban all gas-powered transportation. It could create genuine logistic problems, including hurting the mechanic population financially, lowering gas prices substantially, hurting the stock market, and making it very difficult for people to buy electric cars because the law of supply and demand dictates that electric car companies will raise the price substantially. It doesn’t seem justifiable to make this big of a change and call it “necessary and proper”.

    • 10:23 am - April 23, 2021

  • Dababy

    I think that moving to electric cars completely in the future will be a necessity in the future. However, I am not sure that is doable by 2035. We have an entire economy and industrial sector devoted to the manufacture of vehicles. To completely uproot that, remodel, and reshape a 100 plus-year-old industry in less than 15 years seem nearly impossible. Many automobile manufactures would struggle as a result of this initiative. Electric cars also need to be made more affordable to the general population if they are to become the sole type of vehicle for sale in the US.

    • 10:58 am - April 23, 2021

  • pasttimes

    Electric cars do have many good features, but we cant just shut all the gas vehicles off like that. It will take time to get everyone into having an electric car and if all the gas is gone then there is no way for gas powered vehicles to have gas to drive on any road, At this point everyone will have to buy an electric car, and they would have to put power charging stations everywhere across the country. There is too much that needs to be done before this big change can happen.

    • 1:48 pm - April 25, 2021