State law requires zero-emissions new cars by 2035 – because California says so

By Guy Page

As goes California, so goes Vermont. According to the requirements of Vermont state law, Vermont must ban the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035 – because that’s what California is doing, too. 

A 2006 state law commits Vermont to follow California state emissions standards. “No new motor vehicle shall be sold or leased in the State unless a vehicle emissions label that meets [California emissions standards] is affixed to the vehicle,” 10 VSA 579 (d) states. 

14 other states (including every other New England state except New Hampshire) decided likewise, in an effort to shape federal and industry emissions standards. 

Vermont’s legislative decision to hitch its emissions wagon to the Golden State’s star was backed up by the courts in 2007 and also codified as a Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulation a year later under Gov. James Douglas. The DEC website states that the Vermont Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Program ensures that new vehicles sold in Vermont are “the cleanest available by requiring that new vehicles sold in Vermont meet California emissions standards.”

Until recently, conforming to California emissions regs meant adopting the state’s higher-than-the-feds MPG standards. But that was before Gov. Gavin Newsom’s September 2020 “mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035.” This regulation would effectively ban the sale of all internal combustion engine vehicles. 

According to Newsom’s September, 2020 statement:

  • the California Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035.
  • the Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100 percent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage (“port of entry”) trucks. 
  • To ensure needed infrastructure to support zero-emission vehicles, the order requires state agencies, in partnership with the private sector, to accelerate deployment of affordable fueling and charging options. 
  • New and used zero-emission vehicle dealers must provide broad accessibility to zero-emission vehicles for all Californians. 
  • The executive order will not prevent Californians from owning gasoline-powered cars or selling them on the used car market.

New England consumer advocacy groups, including Vermont’s Ethan Allen Institute, are pushing back against California’s aggressive move to essentially wipe out internal combusion transportation. “In response to California’s executive order, a new multi-state coalition – represented by the Ethan Allen Institute in Vermont –  has formed to raise awareness about these California-derived regulations and the ICE ban that will negatively impact most of New England,” a statement from the EAI said.

EAI President Meg Hansen offered the following statement in March:

“First, Vermont is not a colony of California. It is anti-democratic and irrational for Vermont lawmakers to cede regulatory authority over our vehicle standards to another state. In 2000, The State of Vermont adopted California’s Low-Emission Vehicle criteria and Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulations. Minimizing air pollution by regulating tailpipe emissions is one thing, but imposing a blanket ban on the dominant vehicle technology is another.

“Second, technology bans and mandates cannot succeed in the absence of affordable alternatives. Banning gasoline-powered vehicles cannot and will not force a transition to zero-emission vehicles because ZEV technology is not affordable or easily available at present. Electric vehicles (EV) have miles to go before they can compete in the market without the aid of government subsidies and tax credits. Real solutions would focus on improving EV technology, which involves giving the process the time it needs and the space to fail and evolve. Commanding that ICE vehicles become obsolete by 2030 or 2035 achieves nothing but political points.

“Finally, in the face of record high gas prices and inflation, Vermont policymakers need to expand choices and not limit our ability to commute to work and put food on the table. The vast majority of Americans don’t have disposable income to ride inflation waves and stick to the (Russian) man – as many in positions of power and influence are demanding. Speaking of moral imperatives, we should not implement policies that will make the average Vermonter poorer.”

Republished from March, 2022.

21 replies »

  1. You know, if people really thought this made sense then more than the 1-2 % would really
    believe in this nonsense, this will not happen as this is just a leftist pipedream and if the
    snowflakes in Vermont think of following California, is a good idea, then that says it all !!

    Just look at the condition of California…….. and we want to follow that SShow, maybe the
    greenies in VT need to head west and save them first, just saying!!

  2. How do our beloved farmers who supply us with amazing, nutrient dense food feel about this? Have the climate warriors thought about how that will impact our farms and prices of local food? And how about entrepreneurs who followed their passion to start a food truck business? How will they be affected? Just like the Clean Heat Standard, anyone supporting this nonsense isn’t looking beyond the first shiny line.

  3. STOP voting for out-of-staters for our legislature UNLESS a person has proven & has long documented that they are a conservative – and I state this as an out-of-stater myself. The very reason I relocated here decades ago for the traditional VT “culture”, the right to carry, the safety, etc. – NOT to change it into an east coast California.

    So there are exemptions, of course, insofar as Americans who embrace REAL Vermont from other regions of our once unified nation, but most are not; the same holds true too for native Vermonters I have met who very sadly have bought into this dangerous ideology & vote straight democrat! Horrible!

    Be careful out there on election “day”……

  4. Laws are made, and bad ones are unmade by repeal. Perhaps the lawmakers want to become breatharians. You know the ones who exist on air. It’s a real thing. . No worries, most are resigning because of the work to remove corrupt ones, we will have the opportunity to rebuild our self governance from the ground up.

    • Thanks! Will read the interview. But, not wondering. I know. The extent of conflict of interest among legislators is startling – think “SunCommon”. And the influence peddling – lobbying and other forms of grift- that goes with it? Same.

  5. If you don’t want this to happen, call the Governor’s office NOW 802-828-3333, or email NOW and tell him not to let his administration file the rule change necessary to implement this. We are not stuck with this! It is an all or nothing/yes or no proposition. How about NO! People, speak the heck up!

  6. Just because someone jumps off a bridge does not mean you should also!! California is not nearly as green as Vermont. We should not be following their every whim!! No one except the elite can even afford an electric vehicle! Many more will be jumping ship and leave our state to be nothing more than political soup they cannot afford!!

  7. Easy solution is to move out of Commie Vermont or buy vehicle outside of Vermont.

  8. Are “we” insane? We now have the most efficient, electronically controlled, internal combustion engines & also hybrids that work like diesel/electric locomotives & these fools will ditch all this for some “incredible transition” that can only be achieved over decades with technology using as much or more energy than conventional engines now? I remember the sneers over JFK’s moonshot speech but we DID IT & we can do the same now, just NOT in the timeframe MANDATED by these “greeniacs” who adhere to a cult/religion that demands faith without proven solutions. Surely with more R&D and tech breakthroughs we’ll get there, but NOT right away, fools!

    • No worries, according to the climate cult the earth will be dead in 10 years. In the year 2032, all life will Seace on planet earth according to the moon bat climate cult. Truly amazing that mother earth lasted 4.5 billion years and only has 10 years left. No wonder we need a mental health line in Vermont. Obama is so worried he bought a mansion on an island, Marthas Vinyard. He’s probably hired a local crew to build his arc right after they are done installing his 7,500-gallon propane tank. I guess the greenies didn’t want to tell Lord Obama.

  9. Never underestimate the the lack of knowledge of our intelligencia involving the laws of physics or economics. What we need is the lowest cost, reliable relatively clean energy to lower our living and manufacturing costs. That means ALL sources. All would make Vermont attractive to high paying, energy utilizing industry that can afford to invest in cleaner, new technologys.

    The effect of the California rule would be interesting. Imagine being able to see the antique car population in Vermont begin to look like Havana since Castro came to power.

    There are those that like to visit the picturesque rural poor. Some would like to see Vermont fullfill that role.

    Where does the Governor and Legislature stand?

  10. Who was it said “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”? Can’t think of a better quote to sum up this foolishness!

  11. I would really like to wake up from this nightmare. Everything is a contradiction, and it’s just so exhausting. I’m personally not concerned about the climate (maybe if it was getting colder!). But even IF I WAS:
    – Nuclear is clearly the only way out.
    – The carbon footprint for manufacturing an electric car is astonishing (

    I honestly don’t even believe the people pushing for this crap, and I’m genuinely worried about their true motives.

  12. I can’t wait to pay Washington Electric Co-op rates to fill my car. It will be more expensive than gas is now.

  13. How often to I have to say it? Executive orders are not laws! Executive orders are not laws! Executive orders are not laws!!! Laws are made by legislatures, where they can, in theory at least, be debated and refined (or rejected)!. Furthermore, having a law (VT) based on something that’s NOT a law (CA) is not a law in and of itself either. Nor is any law that is un-Constitutional itself a valid law.

    The way I see it, there are two solutions:

    1. Release the technology Big Auto has been suppressing for 100 years and run cars on water. Splitting the hydrogen off the water and burning it as fuel is a very easy process chemically, and could be done while adding zero dollars to the cost of a vehicle. In fact, we might even save a few bucks.
    2. Release the zero-point technology that’s also been suppressed for at least 50 years. If you don’t believe it exists, sorry… If you’re young enough you may be in for a huge surprise one day.

    For what it’s worth, back in 1985 I bought a brand-new Chevy Cavalier, Thing got a minimum, a MINIMUM, of 40 mpg year-round, and that figure was with city driving in the dead of winter. In the summer it got 44 mpg till the day it died. That was 37 years ago! Have we gotten stupider? Or maybe just greedier and more politically correct? I’ll go with the latter.

    And while we’re on the energy topic, why is it exactly that Vermont only gets ~55% of it’s existing electric power from hydroelectric? And that does NOT count existing dams and facilities that are not in use. You think an 80+% bump in renewable hydro power availability and usage might help with “going green”?

    As always though, follow the money and see who’s making it off these schemes. Hint: It ain’t you.

  14. Most electricity comes from carbon sources – remote out of sight polution

    Only nuclear and water power are carbon free = Solar hardly counts =

    Solar is 8 hours a day in winter