February 2022 Gasoline Phaseout NewsFebruary 28, 2022
CLEAN CARS 2030 SIGNED INTO LAW IN WASHINGTON STATEMarch 25, 2022
Stronger vehicle emission standards must also be bolstered by policies to achieve 2030 emissions reduction targets.
Seattle, Washington – March 9, 2022 – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restored authority under the Clean Air Act for California and other states to set vehicle emission standards that exceed those set by the federal government. This authority came under unprecedented attack from the last administration. Restoring it is an opportunity for states to adopt stronger pollution and carbon emissions standards for cars and trucks – including requirements for automakers to sell more Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs).
Setting stronger emission standards has a number of key benefits:
- It helps states improve climate, health, and equity by cutting carbon emissions and air pollution which affect disadvantaged communities and communities of color first and worst.
- It helps the U.S. remain competitive in the burgeoning electric vehicle market.
- It mobilizes private and public ZEV investments that will help revitalize the economy, generate new manufacturing opportunities, and provide new well-paying, family-sustaining jobs.
This is a good start. However, to achieve climate goals, we need state and federal policies to do more to cut vehicle emissions at speed and scale. Current policies are still falling short.
For instance, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $10 billion ZEV package to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles and fight climate change in furtherance of the goal to end the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. The package includes $256 million for low-income consumer ZEV purchases. Current California programs provide up to $9,500 toward a ZEV for income-qualified drivers. However, if the full $256 million went into offering the full $9,500 rebate, it would add fewer than 27,000 ZEVs to the market – a tiny fraction of the 29 million vehicles on California’s roads.
Even the Biden Administration’s target, announced last summer, for ZEVs to make up half of all new vehicle sales by 2030 is inconsistent with the scientific consensus and the goal set by the Biden Administration to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030. Because only 6% of vehicles in the U.S. are replaced every year (17 million of the 253 million vehicles on the road), ramping up to half of those new cars (or 3% of the total cars on the road) being ZEVs would still likely result in the vast majority of the cars on the road being gas-powered in 2030.
Therefore, additional policies are needed to achieve 2030 emissions targets – policies designed to cause massive and accelerated conversion of the heaviest users of gasoline to EVs.
Coltura’s report, Gasoline Superusers, urges revising current ZEV incentive policies to maximize gasoline displacement. This could be achieved by tying the amount of the incentive to the average annual gallons of gasoline used by the vehicle to be traded in for a ZEV. The more gasoline the driver uses, the bigger the incentive to switch to a ZEV.
Such a policy would improve the efficiency of government spending per gallon of gasoline displaced and would require 40% fewer EVs to achieve the same level of carbon reduction. It would also help redirect transportation expenditures away from oil companies to families, enabling them to avoid the burdens of high gasoline prices and large gasoline expenditures. With the right incentives, such a policy could help drivers who burn the most gasoline to switch to EVs faster than the current turnover rate.
In this time of crisis, Coltura calls on state and federal governments to work strategically and swiftly toward aggressive carbon reduction goals. We should not settle for anything less.
Coltura is working to improve climate, health, and equity by accelerating the transition from gasoline and diesel to cleaner alternatives. It focuses on changing gasoline supply, gasoline demand, and gasoline culture through innovative legal and policy pathways, media, and art. Learn more at www.coltura.org.
- Janelle London, co-executive director of Coltura, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-250-2839
- Samara Villasenor, communications for Coltura, email@example.com, 206-478-5643