Aug 29, 2022 - News

Virginia’s backdoor gas car ban

Illustration of a close up of a car exhaust pipe stuffed with a cork.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

California’s 2035 ban on the sale of new gas-powered cars will also apply in Virginia unless the General Assembly intervenes, the Virginia Mercury reports.

What’s happening: State lawmakers passed a law in 2021 aligning Virginia’s emissions standards with California’s as part of a clean-energy push.

  • That alignment extends to California’s new zero-emissions vehicle standards, lawyers with the attorney general’s office and General Assembly have concluded, per documents obtained by the Mercury.

Context: As of July 1, there were just under 40,000 electric vehicles registered in Virginia, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

  • That's less than 0.5% of the 8.4 million vehicles with Virginia tags.

What’s next: California’s new standards still have to be approved by the EPA.

  • And it remains to be seen whether the General Assembly will continue to think binding the state’s emissions standards to California’s is a good idea.

What they’re saying: “I am already at work to prevent this ridiculous edict from being forced on Virginians,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in a tweet.

💭 Our thought bubble: It’s hard to imagine Republicans in the House won’t push hard to reverse course when lawmakers return to town in January.

  • And it’s easy to imagine at least one or two of the more moderate Democrats in the Senate siding with them.
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