California considers internal combustion car ban

It may institute a phase-out of gas car sales like the U.K. and France

Gasoline and diesel cars in California may have a bleak future. According to Bloomberg, the state is considering instituting some type of ban on the sale of internal combustion automobiles. The news source got this information from the chairman of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Mary Nichols. Nichols also told Bloomberg that if such a ban happened, it would likely not occur through an EPA waiver, citing the unlikelihood of the Trump administration permitting a new change. Instead, some other regulation would probably happen.

Nichols said that California Gov. Jerry Brown expressed interest following news of bans in the United Kingdom, France and potentially in China. It would certainly be consistent with Brown's previous efforts to independently act on climate change-related matters, such as the cap and trade carbon market established between his state and the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. As Bloomberg reports, California actually sells more cars than France, giving it considerable clout in the automotive industry.

The U.K. and France bans target an end to internal combustion vehicle sales by 2040. Both countries have a long road ahead to shifting to electrics. Electrified vehicles (pure EVs and hybrids) made up 4.7 percent of new vehicle sales in France in the first half of 2017. In the U.K., electrified vehicles were about 4 percent. The U.K. may have a bit of wiggle room, though, since hybrids will still be permitted for sale. Whether that will include some of the ultra-mild 48-volt hybrid systems proposed by Audi, Volvo, and others has yet to be seen.

Banning internal combustion car sales would go a long way toward the state's goal of bringing emissions down to 80 percent below 1990 levels. However, it won't be easy. Despite EV's being more popular there than in other states, its mix of electrified vehicle sales is also still below 5 percent.

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