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Federal ban on new gas-powered cars? Buttigieg is 'really interested' in California's new regulation
Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Federal ban on new gas-powered cars? Buttigieg is 'really interested' in California's new regulation

Could the federal government impose a ban on new gas-powered cars?

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said recently he is interested in such a policy after California mandated that only "zero-emission" cars be sold by the mid-2030s.

What did California do?

In late August, the California Air Resources Board approved a new rule banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035.

The regulation does not ban Californians from driving vehicles with internal combustion engines, but it mandates that any new vehicle sold in the state with a model year of 2035 or later must be free of fossil fuel emissions.

What did Buttigieg say?

The transportation secretary told KTTV-TV last week that he is "really interested" in regulations like those in California. In fact, Buttigieg suggested such a policy may be considered nationally.

"It’s interesting to see how the states are trying to go above and beyond what we’re doing at the federal level," Buttigieg told the news station.

"I’m really interested in these developments, while we continue to set a national policy that’s the baseline for all of this. We need to move in the direction of electric vehicles," he added.

The transition to electric vehicles must happen "quickly," Buttigieg added, in order to "beat climate change."

"We’ve got to make sure that this happens quickly enough to help us beat climate change," he said. "We’ve got to make sure it happens affordably enough that’s it not just wealthy people, but low-income people who are the ones who most need those gas savings if they can afford the EVs in the first place."

However, Buttigieg did not explain how mandating electric vehicles will "beat climate change." After all, the U.S. is only one country and accounts for roughly 10% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

Anything else?

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm recently agreed that California's rule "could be" a "national model."

The irony of California's new rule is that just this month Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) instructed residents to restrict their use of electricity amid a record-breaking heat wave.

Among other measures intended to preserve the electric grid, Newsom asked Californians not to use large appliances between the hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. One wonders if charging electric vehicles fell into that category.

Meanwhile, California was also forced to use gas-powered emergency generators to prevent widespread blackouts.

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