The state wants 35% of new cars to be electric by 2026.
Like it or not, the car world is going electric. The facts of climate change and economic stress brought on by climbing gas prices should be enough to encourage action, but in most cases, it's the government forcing the issue. California is usually at the forefront of emissions regulations for cars, and the state is poised to continue that leadership for the foreseeable future. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) just released its latest proposed standards to triple EV sales over the next four years to 35 percent by 2026.
The CARB proposal also includes a 100 percent shift in new vehicle sales to electric, hybrid, or hydrogen power by 2035. The California proposal comes just a couple of weeks after the Biden Administration ordered carmakers toincrease the average fuel economy to 49 mpg by 2026.
California is an enormous vehicle market, accounting for around 11 percent of new car sales in the United States. Beyond its economic importance, the state is vital to adopting EVs and alternative fuels and their eventual takeover of the US auto market. Buyers in California snap up EVs at more than twice the national average. The state is the only one in the nation with hydrogen fueling stations available to the public for vehicles like the Toyota Mirai.
The state's move triggers a review process from the EPA. Still, given President Biden's restoration of California's ability to set its own vehicle emissions standards, it's unlikely the review will cause many issues for the proposal. Recent legislation, like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will help push the process forward. It allocated $7.5 billion for new EV chargers and related programs nationwide by 2030, which will be vital in convincing other states to follow California's lead.
Climate change and environmental concerns are good enough reasons for the change on their own, but recent jumps in gas prices should be all the average buyer needs to decide. In the last three months alone, gas prices have climbed from around $3.30 per gallon in January to $4.34 in early March, a little after Russia's invasion of Ukraine began. Gas is twice as expensive as it was just two years ago, so an EV might look pretty tempting for many people.