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. A press conference has been called for 11 am tomorrow.

EAI President Meg Hansen offered the following statement this afternoon:

“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.”

22 replies »

  1. If this foolish “law” runs to 2035 unopposed , we’ll be moving AWAY from Vermont with plenty of time to spare. No question.

  2. I’ve been saying for years that Vermont has its very own “Left Coast” over there in Chittenden County . . . sad, but true. What’s the contingency plan if the San Andreas Fault lets go prior to 2035? Maybe there IS still hope . . .

  3. That is an impractical mandate from Gov. Newsom. Also, we should do what is best for Vermonters only.

  4. It’s easy to pass a law, especially one that basically says, “We’re going to follow those guys.” In the real world, as car manufacturers are trying to engineer cars that meet the law’s requirements, things aren’t always quite so easy. I suppose by the time this law kicks in, either most people will be walking, or loading moving vans where the ‘leaders’ are actually living on planet earth, not lala land. We may actually have cars that meet those standards, but only a handful of people will be able to afford to buy or even lease one.

  5. Most likely I’ll be dead or close to it by then so no worries for me, but my sympathies to the younger generations behind me

  6. Remember when voting in November all these progressive socialists running our state into a hole. Especially those who want to go to DC like welch and gray. Tell everyone who is complaining about gas prices now that these progressive socialists like us paying $8.00 a gallon for gas!!

  7. Do these people realize that our technology is not there yet. Not even close. Vote these people out because they lack common sense.

  8. This, ladies and gentlemen is why there is the term “virtue signaling” and “unintended consequences”.
    It is also a reminder of why we can no longer accept bad legislation and virtue signaling legislators.

  9. Remember in November who is pushing this nonsense and why we are paying almost $5 a gallon for gas. This is the progressive socialists in Montpelier plus welch and gray need to lose in November. Please tell your friends who is Really causing this pain at the gas pumps.

  10. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test!! The glorious thing is that all this will be done without raising the expenses of anyone earning under $100,000 per year. It’s magical! And the school bus too!

    • 2035 with no real replacement. Electric has so many flaws. The batteries use graphite and lithium. All coming from overseas, so we become 100% dependant on other countries (at their prices) to keep from going back to horse and buggies. Is there anyi left in Vermont Legislation with a brain ?

  11. Since VT does not produce zero emission cars we should not be committing to such a thing. If VT made zero emission cars AND could control the cost then maybe do this…..otherwise…..NO!

  12. These “zero emissions” cars are anything but. When one factors in that most of these cars are charged via fossil fuel generated electricity, manufactured: smelting steel, tires, plastic panels using fossil fuels, transported using fossil fuel. If you’re “virtuous” enough to be able to charge it with your solar panels, consider that the “messy” part of those panels are manufactured overseas where best environmental practices can be ignored and let’s not forget those dirt poor fathers and kids scraping out cobalt for slaves wages…there is nothing at all to be proud about…you ain’t savin’ nothin’.

  13. You are all acting as though electric cars are easy.

    These batteries are made of exotic elements, and materials, hard to find, hard to mine, no where near enough to mandate MANY millions of these exotic batteries a year – in just a dozen years!

    AND we absolutely abhore the wonders of Nuclear electric power, so how many ways are there to double or tripple Electric Generation?
    Maybe we can burn Fairy Dust, or burn books to generate all this power

    We don’t have the batteries, and we don’t have the electricity.

    What we have are plenty of dreamy eyed foolish Idiots, joined together!!

  14. This state is run by too many idiots and elected by idiots that moved here to make Vermont a cesspool like the state they left. We’re getting screwed by liberals and I hope that the real Vermonters wake up and make changes in November

    • Unfortunately, I don’t think you can put the blame on all the idiots that moved here to create the cesspool that they left. Look who we have been electing to national, statewide and local offices for many decades. Look at the people who are promoting liberal, progressive policies statewide. For example, check out the Essex School Board. How about Bernie? And all the Greenie representatives, Defund police. And more. None off this would have been approved if it had not been for native Vermont Voters?

  15. Guy , Your Missing all the Fun . Their Pathetic Lying narratives are Falling apart faster than they can Speak them . I wish You could Witness what is happening . OMG . The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh away

  16. People here will do what people in California do. They just go to a next state and buy the “banned” vehicles.

  17. Where are the people that are off grid supposed to charge their cars?
    I have several neighbors that do not have grid power.
    Most of them have solar panel and use gasoline powered generators in the winter and during cloudy or stormy spells.

  18. This from the same contingent of the Legislature that “declared” that Vermont would be 90% renewable for home heating and transportation by 2020. These timelines and fantasies are not based on science, practicality or sound economics but on wishful thinking and virtue-signaling moonbat politicians whose biggest ambition is to feel good about themselves. Build the grid infrastructure first, then mandate the vehicles, dummies! Who votes for these idiots anyhow?…go to a public place, look to your left and look to your right…30%+ of your fellow Americans approve of the job Biden is doing, and a majority in Vermont vote for democrats and progressives, you know the one’s who preach about following the science.