California is gearing up to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars -- and now 11 more US states are playing follow the leader.

A measure approved by the California Air Resources Board back in August 2022 requires all new cars, SUVs and pickup trucks sold in the state to generate zero tailpipe emissions by 2035. The policy won't take existing vehicles off the road, but automakers and car dealers will be restricted to selling electric vehicles and certain plug-in hybrids.

"Our cars shouldn't make wildfires worse -- and create more days filled with smoky air," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said. "Cars shouldn't melt glaciers or raise sea levels, threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines."

Read more: What to Know About California's Ban on Gas-Powered Cars

The state's Advanced Clean Cars II rule requires zero-emission vehicles to represent 35% of new cars and light trucks in lots by 2026, and then 68% by 2030, before reaching 100% in 2035.

When it comes to emissions, California is a leader: 11 other states that link their standards to California's have also announced plans to prohibit the sale of new ICE (internal combustion engine) automobiles after 2035, and more could follow.

Read more: The Best EVs in America 

Which states are banning the sale of new gas-powered cars?

Under Section 177 of the Clean Air Act, states must either adhere to federal emissions standards or adopt California's more stringent guidelines. 

Seventeen states have historically followed California's regulations, but so far only Delaware, MaineMaryland, Massachusetts, New JerseyNew York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington have announced they'll enforce the Advanced Clean Cars II rule and prohibit the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles.


Following a public hearing in April 2023, Shawn Garvin, the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control of Delaware, finalized regulations to adopt California's regulations on the gas-powered vehicle ban. This served as an amendment to Delaware's previously existing Low Emission Vehicle program, bringing it in line with the standards imposed by Section 177 of the Clean Air Act.


In May 2023, the Maine legislature received a civilian petition urging the regulatory body to adopt the Advanced Clean Cars II standards within the state. A public hearing was held in August 2023, and a rulemaking session was supposed to be held in December but was canceled because of bad weather.

Further rule making is set to occur this year, with the most recent hearing having been held in March. If the ACC II is adopted in Maine, the state will be instituting California's gas-powered car ban in 2028.


Gov. Wes Moore announced in March 2023 that Maryland would be the seventh state to ban gas-powered cars by 2035. Moore cited public health as his reason for the adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II regulations, saying it would save the state nearly $40 million annually in lost productivity from respiratory and cardiovascular illness.


One of the first states to adopt California's Advanced Clean Cars II legislation, Massachusetts has a trigger law to automatically adopt any emissions policy enacted by the Golden State. As such, Massachusetts has planned to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035 since the inception of the policy in August 2022.

New Jersey

New Jersey was the sixth state that has used Section 177 of the Clean Air Act to ban gas-powered car sales by 2035. In March 2023, Gov. Phil Murphy signed executive orders initiating the legislative process to adopt the stricter ICE vehicle regulations. "I am proud to announce that we're accelerating New Jersey's goal of reaching a 100% clean energy future ahead by 15 years -- from 2050 to 2035," Murphy said.

New York

New York was the fourth state to begin mobilizing to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035, with Gov. Kathy Hochul beginning a legislative effort in September 2022. The governor ordered officials to draft regulations that would "require all new passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs sold in New York State to be zero emissions by 2035." The law was passed in the summer of 2023.


Oregon's Environmental Quality Commission voted in December 2022 to phase out the sale of gas-powered vehicles within the state by 2035. The state's legislative body followed behind California, Massachusetts, Washington and New York to become the fifth state to enact the Advanced Clean Cars II regulations.


In accordance with the state's adherence to California's emissions legislation, Pennsylvania lawmakers have also agreed to adopt the Advanced Clean Cars II regulations. The state hasn't formally released information about what any state-specific ACC II rules might look like as of yet.

Rhode Island

The eighth state to utilize Section 177 of the Clean Air Act to ban gas-powered vehicles, Rhode Island put the Advanced Clean Cars II regulations into effect in May 2023. Gov. Dan McKee was adamant that the new policy would cut back on smog and work toward environmental justice within the state. "The Act on Climate put us on the clock for meeting major carbon reduction mandates, and it's clear to me that Rhode Island will only meet the mandates by addressing the transportation sector head-on," McKee said.


In November 2022, Vermont lawmakers approved changes to clean-car requirements that would require new cars sold in the state to be zero-emission vehicles by 2030, WCAX reported. Secretary of State Sarah Copeland Hanzas, who must approve the policy, did not respond to a request for comment.


The other state with a trigger law to automatically adopt California's emissions regulations, Washington adopted the Advanced Clean Cars II regulations at the same time Massachusetts did. Both states immediately followed up on the initial legislation passed by California in August 2022.

Other states that usually follow California regulations


Colorado has adopted California's zero-emission policies in the past, but Gov. Jared Polis has rejected the idea of a ban. Instead, state agencies will focus on making EVs more affordable and practical. Announced in March 2023, the Colorado Electric Vehicle plan sets a goal of EVs accounting for at least 80% of new car sales by 2032, compared with slightly more than 10% in 2022.


Though Connecticut seemed poised to accept California's zero-emission regulations, and even ended up for a brief time on the list of states adopting Section 177 of the Clean Air Act to end sales on gas-powered vehicles, infighting from state lawmakers has killed any plans to go through with the ban -- at least for now. A special session held earlier this year was supposed to come to another conclusion on the legislation, but no bipartisan solution was decided on.

Democratic lawmakers in the state have since abandoned the adoption of a gas-powered vehicle ban and are refocusing on other infrastructure legislation.


In Virginia, the outlook is more muddled: Republican lawmakers are fighting to decouple the state from California's emissions rules, but their last bill was defeated in February. Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has still vowed to overturn what he called a "ridiculous edict," according to WTOP News.


Though Minnesota's 2021 Clean Car Rule links it to California's standards, it doesn't automatically trigger a ban on ICE vehicles. State Rep. Jamie Long, chair of the state Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee, said the likelihood of such a prohibition "is probably low," MinnPost reported. Car dealers in the state sued to get the Clean Car Rule struck down in January but failed.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, meanwhile, has called for 20% of cars on Minnesota roads to be electric by 2030, up from 1% today.

Can I still buy a used gas-powered car?

The regulations don't force anyone to stop driving their current automobile or prevent them from buying a used car. They also don't prevent you from buying an ICE vehicle in another state and registering it locally.

The average lifespan of a car is about 12 years or 200,000 miles, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, so there will be ICE cars available in the affected states for some time. Since only 12 states have adopted Section 177 of the Clean Air Act, there will likely still be a strong gas-powered vehicle market in America for the foreseeable future.

Are medium- and heavy-duty vehicles included in the ban?

Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, like public buses and trucks weighing more than 14,000 pounds, "produce a disproportionately large portion of the state's greenhouse gas emissions," according to the California Energy Commission, and should be 100% zero-emission by 2045 "where feasible." 

California is set to prohibit the sale of large diesel trucks in 2036.

Is there a nationwide ban on gas-powered cars?

President Joe Biden has set a goal of having half of all new vehicle sales in the US be electric by 2030. To achieve that, he earmarked $5 billion to create a nationwide infrastructure of charging stations and revised the EV tax credit to spur domestic production.

But the White House has not floated an outright prohibition on new ICE vehicles. Instead, new standards for gas-powered vehicles dictate that manufacturers will have to build them to be more environmentally friendly, working toward a carbon-neutral goal.

Biden's Federal Sustainability Plan also requires government agencies to transition to buy only zero-emission light-duty vehicles by 2027 and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by 2035.

The White House announced in April 2023 that the federal government had already acquired 13,000 light- and medium-duty zero-emission vehicles in 2023, roughly four times the number it had bought in all of 2022.

Viability of the ban: What the experts are saying 

While the ICE vehicle ban could go a long way to helping meet America's emissions goals, there are questions that come up time and time again. How are we going to reliably get EVs into the hands of consumers? And how are we going to support them once those vehicles are in their hands?

CNET's resident EV expert, Antuan Goodwin, points out that plug-in cars are more expensive than combustion vehicles right now -- in many cases, they're seen as a luxury. While price trends downward with improvements in technology, an ICE ban might raise the average transaction price for EVs.

In the short term this could end up hurting the average person, but in the long term this should actually help them out, due to the lower operating costs of hybrids and EVs.

Goodwin also identified infrastructural concerns that need to be reckoned with as these bans come into effect. According to Goodwin, we'll need to figure out "how quickly plug-in infrastructure can and will grow, and what to do with all of the current gas stations as EVs replace combustion cars." There will be ample time for this, however, as the ban doesn't do anything to remove the millions of ICE vehicles already on the road today.

"Of course, combustion car emissions goals have been a constantly moving target, so we could see targets for ICE bans shift as trends in technology, public opinion and politics also shift in the coming years," concluded Goodwin.

Which carmakers will no longer produce gas-powered vehicles?

With increased demand and government regulations, a number of leading auto companies have shared timelines for when they plan to phase out ICE vehicles.

General Motors has said it will sell only zero-emission cars by the time California's ban takes effect in 2035. By 2040, GM said, it will be carbon-neutral both in its vehicles and manufacturing operations.

Other carmakers vowing to go all-electric include Jaguar (2025), Volvo (2030), Rolls-Royce (2030) and Honda (2040).

Ford has pledged to ditch gas-powered cars in 2030, but only in Europe.

Stellantis -- parent company of Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat and Jeep -- has said 100% of its sales in Europe and 50% of sales in the US will be battery electric vehicles by the end of the decade.

That's when Mercedes-Benz says it will cease production of gas-powered vehicles "where market conditions allow." The German automaker has promised to offer battery-electric versions of all its models by 2025.

Volkswagen plans to go all-electric in Europe by 2033.

Kia and Hyundai both have plans to ramp up their EV offerings, though neither has said anything about ending the production of ICE models.

Back in 2017, Toyota said it would phase out gas-powered vehicles by 2040. But while the Japanese automaker has led the way with hybrids, Toyota director Shigeki Terashi said in a 2021 investors' call that it was "too early to concentrate on one option," at least until 2050.

In January, incoming CEO Koji Sato said "the time is right'' for an EV-first approach. But at the Davos summit that same month, Toyota Chief Scientist Gill Pratt argued that the scarcity of lithium for EV batteries made an all-in approach unfeasible.

"These shortages -- not only of battery materials, but of charging infrastructure -- will make it abundantly clear that one size does not fit all," Pratt said, according to Automotive News, "and that the best answer is actually a mix of different vehicle types."

Lexus, Toyota's luxury brand, is slated to go fully electric by 2035.

This was originally published on Roadshow.

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