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US lawmakers propose ban on gasoline-powered new vehicles by 2035

22 November 2020 Kevin Adler

Sales of new gasoline-powered cars in the US would be banned by 2035 under legislation introduced on 22 October 2020 by congressional Democrats.

The Zero-Emissions Vehicles Act of 2020, introduced by Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) and California Rep. Mike Levin (D), would require that 50% of new passenger vehicle sales be ZEVs by 2025. The mandate would increase by 5% each year to reach 100% by 2035.

For context, EVs (including hybrids) were 4.5% of new US car sales in 2019, according to data from IHS Markit.

To achieve compliance, the bill would create a tradable credit market that would provide automakers with a credit for each ZEV delivered for sale in the US. Manufacturers unable to meet with the ZEV percentages would be able to buy additional credits from companies that exceed the targets. Excess credits could be banked for five years, but must be retired by 2035, according to the text of the legislation.

Merkley and Levin said the bill would "fix what is currently only a patchwork of state-level" ZEV policies and boost the market for battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

"If we don't make things in America, we won't have a middle class in America," Merkley said. "And if we don't save our planet from climate chaos, our entire economy and our nation's public health will end up in shambles. By moving aggressively and boldly now, we can help save Americans from the dire health and economic impacts of the climate crisis and make sure American workers are the ones building the next generation of cars for the world."

The bill was co-sponsored in the Senate by Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Cory Booker of New Jersey. Fifteen House Democrats joined Levin in co-sponsoring the legislation.

The bill also was unveiled on the same day that General Motors announced plans to spend $2 billion to retool its Spring Hill, Tennessee, assembly plant to produce electric vehicles, making it the company's third EV manufacturing site.

State activity

While federal passage of the bill is unlikely in a Republican-controlled Senate, states also are moving along the same track. In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order directing that all new passenger vehicles sold in the state be zero-emission by 2035. Also, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection listed in a report to the legislature in October a state policy of all-EVs and hydrogen-powered vehicle sales by 2035 as a strategy to consider to enable the state to meet its GHG goals.

This article is based on an article by Jeffrey Barber, Oil Price Information Service, 22 October 2020.

Posted 22 November 2020 by Kevin Adler, Chief Editor



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