California's Ban on Gas-Powered Vehicles is the Opposite of Sustainable

California announced it would ban the sale of new gas vehicles in 2035 last Thursday, but the plan is unlikely to work.

Last Thursday, California announced it would ban the sale of new gas vehicles in 2035. More than one-third of U.S. states may follow.

The plan: Over the next decade, automakers will be restricted in how many gas vehicles they can sell to California car dealerships.

  • Only 65 percent by 2026.

  • Only 30 percent by 2030.

  • And zero percent by 2035.

The serious problem: California’s renewable energy policies make the goal impossible.

Just a week after announcing the gas vehicle ban, California asked its residents to avoid charging electric vehicles due to electricity shortages. And that’s with only 1.9 percent of all vehicles in the state being electric.

It’s an unrealistic goal: Climate activist Michael Shellenberger argues that if California wants to reach its goal of millions of electric vehicles, they’ll need 1.2 million more electric vehicle chargers and significantly more power—20 new nuclear power plants worth—to make the plan work.

California’s energy problems are already bad: The state suffered from rolling blackouts during the summer of 2020. Instead of reexamining California's problematic renewable energy practices, state officials doubled down with goals of having 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045.

Big picture: California can hardly support the tiny number of electric vehicles its residents already drive. Now, fueled by romantic visions of renewable energy and stopping climate change, it has set itself on a path toward an unsustainable future by mandating the use of energy it doesn’t have.

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