Remove Virginia’s 2035 Ban on Gas-Powered Cars

In an effort to uphold the federal Clean Air Act, California placed a ban, set to take effect in 2035, on the sales of all new gasoline-powered cars. California is not the only state implementing this new ban, however. Virginia’s previous governor, Ralph Northam, signed a bill that binds Virginia to any emission reduction initiatives California enforces.

Though the prohibition of sales of gasoline-powered vehicles will not begin for another 13 years, many Virginia residents are reluctant to embrace this policy that is to take place. Republicans are pushing for a repeal of this plan, and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin supports this movement. In fact, Youngkin vowed to break ties with California’s laws, as he does not plan on implementing the Golden State’s newest emission standard. 

“I am already at work to prevent this ridiculous edict from being forced on Virginians. California’s out of touch laws have no place in our commonwealth,” Youngkin stated to The Washington Times.

California’s strong initiative to reduce emissions through the ban on gasoline-powered vehicles, though well-intended, has an uncalculated impact, especially when trying to enforce such a law in a state vastly different from its own like Virginia. 

The biggest hurdle any state will have to overcome is implementing mass amounts of charging stations for the influx of electric vehicles that is to come. According to data shown on Electrek, only 2% of all registered vehicles in Virginia are electric, while over 38% of the cars registered in California are electric vehicles. 

Banning the sale of new fossil fueled cars will prove to have adverse effects, even with a 13-year phaseout. Due to the notably low number of registered electric vehicles in Virginia, moving toward this policy will be difficult for the supply market, especially with the sudden turnaround, according to Scott Segal, an energy industry representative lawyer. 

Another impact the ban can potentially have is an initial increase in costs for consumers. While electrical vehicles are easy to maintain, these emission-reducing cars, with costly replacement batteries for example, are far more expensive to repair than their gas-fueled counterparts. Additionally, once the ban is in effect, consumers in the market for a new car must be mindful of the fact that the initial purchase of an electric vehicle is significantly more expensive, at $66,000 compared to the average cost of a new car at $47,000, according to Kelley Blue Book. 

Manufacturers must prepare for the spike in demand for electrical vehicles to come in 2035. However, suppliers are already struggling to manufacture enough EVs to meet their current demand. According to Electrek, companies such as Tesla are fighting to increase their production time to meet their demands. Unfortunately for consumers, however, they have been unable to do so without increasing the cost of their goods, according to InsideEVs. 

California is also experiencing problems with charging stations and its electric grid. In an ABC report, Newsome issued a Flex Alert which called for citizens to “scale back on power usage during peak hours, including a request to avoid charging electric vehicles between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.” 

It is vital to assess the current trends and uses of electrical vehicles in varying states before applying the same policy from one state to another. Promoting the use of EVs to reduce carbon emissions is a direct initiative that aligns with the Clean Air Act, yet it is one that Virginia should implement independent from California once the state deems it is ready.

Daniel is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on Twitter

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