The Trump administration is taking action.
California's environmental laws have for years typically been stricter than what federal laws dictate. This is especially the case for new vehicles. A majority of California residents don't seem to mind, but automakers often do, and, depending on who's sitting in the White House, so does the Environmental Protection Agency.
A couple of weeks ago, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order stating that beginning in the year 2035, state residents will no longer be allowed to buy new internal combustion-engined vehicles. As a proper symbol of the occasion, Newsom signed that order on the hood of a new Ford Mustang Mach-E. And it should come as no surprise the EPA is not exactly thrilled.
According to Reuters, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has come out against California's plan, stating that it "raises serious questions regarding its legality and practicality."
He pointed out the influx of electric vehicles could create problems for the state's electrical grid. Furthermore, he said the initiative is still subject to federal approval by a way of an EPA waiver. The Trump Administration is also battling California in court over its 2019 decision for state agencies to purchase vehicles only from automakers who recognize its ability to set its own air pollution standards.
As it currently stands, the list of banned automakers includes General Motors, Toyota, Mazda, and Fiat Chrysler. Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, and Honda, meanwhile, support California. But why does the EPA care so much about just one state's and environmental policies? Because that one state just so happens to account for 11 percent of all US vehicle sales. Plus, several other states often adopt California's green vehicle requirements.
As supposed proof of California's inability to manage millions of electric vehicles, Wheeler highlighted to Newsom the state's recent rolling blackouts.
"California's record of rolling blackouts - unprecedented in size and scope - coupled with recent requests to neighboring states for power begs the question of how you expect to run an electric car fleet that will come with significant increases in electricity demand, when you can't even keep the lights on today," Wheeler wrote.
In its defense, California has nearly 15 years to sort that and other related issues out in order to accommodate EVs. Don't expect California or the EPA to back down from their current positions unless, of course, Trump loses next month's election.