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Following California’s lead, state will likely ban all sales of new gas-powered cars by 2035

The law aims to put more electric vehicles on Massachusetts roads and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

FILE - An electric vehicle charges at a shopping center in Emeryville, Calif., Aug. 10, 2022. A new tax credit for U.S. buyers of qualifying electric vehicles made in North America has ignited the specter of a trade war as a domestic imperative of the Biden administration and Democrats collides with the complex realities of globalization. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez, File) The Associated Press

Massachusetts will likely start to phase out the sale of new gas-powered vehicles, with a goal of totally banning their sale by 2035.

The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by putting more electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles on roadways. The plan would go into effect thanks to a clean energy and offshore wind bill Gov. Charlie Baker signed on Aug. 11, which says that if California banned the sale of new fossil-fuel-burning cars, Massachusetts must follow suit.

On Thursday, California did just that and became the first government in the world to mandate zero-emission vehicles. 

“California had to go first according to federal law, and now states can piggyback on to the California rule, which Governor Baker has pledged to do,” Larry Chretien of the Green Energy Consumers Alliance told NBC Boston. “The legislature is now requiring that and so now the next step is for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to write the regulations that will make it happen.”


California’s new law calls for 35 percent of new vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2026, 68 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2035. According to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s office, currently, only 12 percent of new vehicle sales in California are zero-emission. 

Following California’s decision, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade association of vehicle manufacturers, released a statement calling the policy “very aggressive.”

“California today is about 18 percent EV market share and leading the nation which stands at 6.3 percent market share. Despite this positive trend, California’s EV sale mandates are still very aggressive — even in California with decades of supportive EV policies — and will be extremely challenging. That’s just a fact,” said the group’s president, John Bozzella.

In addition to Massachusetts, several other states, including Vermont, New York, New Jersey, and Oregon, will now put the gas-powered car sale ban into effect. 

According to The Boston Globe, Baker’s climate bill set aside funds to increase rebates for electric vehicles — including an additional rebate for low-income buyers — and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. 

“Addressing climate change requires bold, urgent action,” Baker said following his signing of the clean energy bill. “I am proud to have supported the Commonwealth’s leadership on these critical issues to preserve our climate and our communities for future generations.”


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