In Brief
Countries like the UK, France, and China have made no secret of their intention to ban the sale of gas- and diesel-powered passenger vehicles over the coming years. Now, California might be set to follow suit.

The Road Ahead

Officials in California are considering whether a ban on the sale of gas- and diesel-powered cars could help the state meet its climate goals. However, this policy is at least a decade away from being enforced,  if it does come to pass.

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“There are people who believe, including [some of those] who work for me, that you could stop all sales of new internal-combustion cars by 2030,” said Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, in an interview with Bloomberg. “Some people say 2035, some people say 2040…it’s awfully hard to predict any of that with precision, but it doesn’t appear to be out of the question.”

Around the World

California would follow in the footsteps of several different countries around the world by putting a ban on the sale of vehicles powered by fossil fuels. China is taking such measures into consideration, the UK recently announced plans to introduce legislation in 2040, and France is aiming to put new regulations in place on a similar timescale.

However, California’s decision to ban the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered cars would arguably be just as effective on the auto industry as many of the countries contemplating similar action, because of the its already-existent market size. More than 2 million passenger vehicles were registered in the state over the course of 2016 — more than were registered across all of France in the same timespan.

Moving away from fossil fuel vehicles will certainly be a great boon for the environment. The question is lies in how the auto industry is going to make electric cars cheap enough to spur adoption before these proposed bans are put in place.