California is typically a little ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting renewable resources and progressive environmental plans. In fact, the state is currently on track to meet its renewable energy goals 10 years early. Its latest effort toward building a sustainable future is a new bill that would ban gas-powered cars by 2040.
Introducing this bill is Democratic California Assembly member Phil Ting, who represents much of San Fransisco and is also chairman of the chamber’s budget committee.
If Ting's bill became law, starting in 2040, California's motor vehicle department would only register vehicles that didn't produce carbon dioxide emissions. Based on currently available technology, that would mean only battery-electric or hydrogen fuel-cell cars would be permissible.
Ting plans to officially introduce the bill to ban gas-powered cars in January when lawmakers return for the next legislative session.
While the bill might seem ambitious to some, France, the U.K., Germany, and others have all taken similar steps in an effort to reduce emissions. Others may think 2040 is too far away as we are already facing the growing repercussions of climate change, but enacting major changes takes time. By setting a long-term goal right now, California can beginning moving in the right direction.
“Until you set a deadline, nothing gets done," Ting told Bloomberg. "It’s responsible for us to set a deadline 23 years in advance.”
The California Air Resources Board, the state's air quality regulator, has previously floated the idea of banning internal-combustion engines. Governor Jerry Brown has also expressed interest in the move.
If the bill goes over well, it could be a major win for not just the state of California, but the entire U.S. where the transportation sector is currently the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions. If one state shows that cutting these emissions through a ban on gas-powered cars is doable, others may follow suit.