Friday, June 21, 2024

Practically Living Green

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California Forcing Zero-Emission Cars by 2035?

Governor Gavin Newsom of California signed an executive order in September 2020 to enforce zero-emission cars and trucks by 2035. What does this mean for Californians, and what does this mean for various industries?

Actually, it may not be as effective as Newsom wants. But, it does show California’s commitment to air quality.

Still Driving Gas-Powered Vehicles

The executive order does not outright ban combustion vehicles altogether. People are still able to drive their cars throughout the state. This is just a ban on selling gasoline-driven cars and trucks.

The idea is to prevent additional vehicles on the road contributing to the poor air quality of California.

This helps people get to a point where they can afford their own electric vehicle while accommodating tourism from other states. After all, people drive into California on a regular basis.

No Hybrids Welcome

So, why aren’t hybrids part of the executive order? Because they are not as effective as once thought. In fact, recent studies of hybrids show them producing nearly the same amount of CO2 as pure-gasoline alternatives.

Part of this is because many hybrid owners rely on gas more than electricity. For one thing, a lot of hybrids don’t have the same driving range as a full-blown electric car.

Now, I doubt Governor Newsom took this particular study into consideration. However, there’s no denying that most hybrid vehicles still produce CO2 on some level.

Out of State Purchases

Another issue with this piece of legislature is how people are still capable of going out of state to buy their cars or trucks. This means states like Nevada, Oregon, and parts of Arizona could see additional vehicle sales.

But in reality, the sales of these out-of-state cars and trucks may not be as influential as some might think. Never underestimate the laziness of others.

Sure, some of the more wealthy people might have cars shipped in from other locales. But, most people who can afford such luxuries own the latest trends anyway.

This includes the sleekest machines pushed out by Tesla.

Something else you may want to consider is how taxes from out-of-state sales could also hinder purchasing. California could essentially push a much-higher tax rate to curb those sales.

The Price of Electric Vehicles

Although the initial cost of zero-emission cars and trucks is decreasing, they still come with a bit higher of a price tag than their gasoline counterparts. And if California wants a successful transition, this price difference needs to be addressed.

I’m sure that the price of EVs will drop significantly over the next 15 years. But, will it be enough to justify the transition to the average car buyer?

For example, right now, you can get a Nissan Leaf for about $31,600. Depending on your financing options, this is about on-par with other new vehicles that require gasoline.

And this is on top of the electric car tax credit. For a new EV, you could get a credit of up to $7,500!

This, alone, makes it practical for buying zero-emission cars or trucks.

The Fires Are Not Helping

The purpose of the executive order is to reduce California’s rate of generating pollution. However, the recent fires have not been a helpful factor.

Because of the heat and dry climate, the fires rage quite easily. Between the smog from vehicles and the fires putting ash and carbon into the atmosphere, it’s an uphill battle to improve air quality.

Zero Emissions Cars and Trucks Are Nice, But…

What it all comes down to is practicality for the common resident. Not everyone makes in excess of $100,000 per year and can afford new zero-emission cars and trucks.

However, the cost of EVs has dropped significantly in the past decade. So, that trend may continue over the next 15 years.

For me, I’m pleased to see someone taking air quality seriously. I’m against oil and coal in all forms, and something like this is good to see. I just hope that various practical concerns are addressed.

Still, it might not make much of a dent in California’s air quality if other states don’t take the same measures. But who knows…California is often a trendsetter for legislation across the nation.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been interested in the practicality of living green for quite some time. He works closely with GreenGeeks Web Hosting as the Content Marketing Team Lead and an author of various articles.

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