ARKANSAS, January 6 (Future Headlines)- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is poised to make a critical decision on the ambitious plan set forth by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The plan, approved in August 2022, aims to mandate that all new vehicles sold in California by 2035 be electric or plug-in electric hybrids. This comprehensive analysis explores the background of California’s groundbreaking initiative, the regulatory processes involved, and the potential implications for the automotive industry and the broader transition toward a greener future.

In August 2022, CARB approved a pioneering plan to cease the sale of gasoline-only vehicles in California by 2035. Reflecting California’s commitment to combating climate change and promoting sustainable transportation solutions. CARB submitted a request to the EPA in May 2022 for a waiver under the Clean Air Act to implement the 2035 electric vehicle mandate. A move that necessitates EPA’s approval to override federal regulations and align with California’s ambitious goal.

The EPA has scheduled a public hearing on January 10 to deliberate on California’s request for a waiver. An opportunity for stakeholders, environmental groups, and industry representatives to present their perspectives. The EPA will accept written comments on California’s proposal through February 27, encouraging diverse voices. A crucial aspect of the regulatory process is to ensure inclusivity and consider various viewpoints.

President Biden’s administration has not endorsed setting a nationwide date to phase out gasoline-only vehicles. Reflecting a cautious stance amid ongoing discussions and negotiations with automakers. In April, the EPA proposed a plan to cut vehicle emissions significantly through 2032. The proposal envisions 60% electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030 and 67% by 2032, sparking discussions within the automotive industry.

Automakers, facing the prospect of stringent emission regulations, have urged the administration to reconsider and potentially soften its proposal. Industry dynamics and the timeline for transitioning to EVs are pivotal considerations in the ongoing discourse. The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to prevent the EPA from advancing emissions regulations. A political standoff highlighting the divergent views on environmental policies.

Former President Donald Trump, eyeing the 2024 Republican nomination, has expressed intentions to reverse EV rules if elected. The political landscape adds an element of uncertainty to the trajectory of green initiatives. California’s waiver request outlines that the zero-emission rules will cost $210.35 billion through 2040. However, the total benefits are estimated at $301.41 billion, emphasizing the long-term gains of the transition. CARB’s rules provide automakers with flexibility, allowing them to sell up to 20% plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) by 2035. Striking a balance between stringent regulations and industry adaptability.

California’s zero-emission rules are projected to reduce smog-causing pollution from light-duty vehicles by 25% by 2037. A substantial environmental impact that aligns with global efforts to combat climate change. The mandate outlines a phased approach, with 35% of new cars sold being PHEVs, EVs, or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2026. The proportion is expected to rise to 68% by 2030 and reach 100% by 2035, signifying a comprehensive transition.

Reporting by Alireza Sabet; Editing by Sarah White