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California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is issuing an executive order that seeks to eliminate sales of new gasoline-powered cars in his state by 2035, a move the White House said President Trump "won't stand for."

Why it matters: California is the largest auto market in the U.S., and transportation is the biggest source of carbon emissions in the state and nationwide.

  • Newsom's order would make California the first state in the U.S. to mandate the phase-out of gasoline-powered cars, although 15 countries as well as some major European cities have already done so.
  • The move, if implemented, would mark one of the world's most aggressive climate policies to stem emissions from vehicles and promote electric models.

Driving the news: Newsom's order demands that state regulators craft rules that require increasing sales of zero-emissions passenger cars and trucks, reaching the phase-out of sales of new fossil fueled-vehicles by 2035.

  • The order, which seeks to grow sales of climate-friendly vehicles over time, also seeks regulations with a target of all new medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses sold or operated in the state being zero emissions by 2045 where it's "feasible."

The other side: White House spokesperson Judd Deere called the order "yet another example of how extreme the left has become," adding it would "destroy jobs and raise costs on the consumer."

  • He said Trump "won't stand for it." The White House did not say what form its opposition would take. But the administration has previously opened regulatory and legal battles against California's climate programs, and in particular is seeking to revoke the state's special power to set its own tailpipe standards.
  • The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group representing big automakers, touted its members' increasing offerings of electric vehicles, but said, "neither mandates nor bans build successful markets."

By the numbers: Newsom's office, in a statement, said the 2035 target for passenger vehicles would "achieve more than a 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80 percent improvement in oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide."

What they're saying: “We agree with Governor Newsom that it’s time to take urgent action to address climate change," per a statement from Ford Motor Co. "That’s why we’re proud to stand with California in achieving meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions in our vehicles as we electrify our most iconic nameplates like the F-150 and the Mustang Mach E."

Context: California's announcement comes as companies like Tesla, Volkswagen and General Motors are increasing their investments in electric vehicle technology to make plug-in cars more affordable.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jul 2, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Why going electric makes sense for ride-hailing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Deploying electric vehicles instead of gasoline-powered models for services like Uber and Lyft provides outsized climate benefits compared to emissions cuts from electric vehicles for only personal use, per a peer-reviewed study in Nature Energy.

Why it matters: The analysis, based on California data, follows explosive growth in ride-hailing in recent years — and evidence that it's cannibalizing more climate-friendly mass transit.

Dec 4, 2020 - Economy & Business

Clean trucks are paving the road to the electric vehicle era

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The electric vehicle revolution is underway, led by the un-sexiest of plug-in models: the commercial truck.

Why it matters: Growing demand for cleaner trucks means 2021 will be a pivotal year for electric vehicles — just not the kind you might have expected.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Dec 19, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Electric vehicles are coming, but no one is sure how fast

Data: Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new study helps to show that experts are all over the map when it comes to gaming out the rise of electric vehicles in the global marketplace.

Why it matters: The speed at which EVs become truly mainstream is one variable affecting the future of oil demand and carbon emissions. Passenger cars account for roughly a fourth of world oil demand.

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