California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday said he wants to ban by 2024 all new hydraulic fracturing permits and by 2035 require all new in-state cars and passenger truck sales to be zero-emission.

Taxpayers would not be stuck with expenses to remediate and/or shut oilfields, according to Newsom, who signaled California is moving from fossil fuel use and making over the massive transportation grid. He signed an executive order (EO) to move vehicles to zero-emission and called on the legislature to ban fracturing permits.

The EO would set “clear deliverables for new health and safety regulations that protect workers and communities from the impacts of oil extraction,” Newsom said. In addition, it would support companies that “transition their upstream and downstream oil production operations to cleaner alternatives.”

The state actions ensure a “just transition away from fossil fuels,” the Democratic governor said. The Golden State’s transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all the carbon pollution, and it accounts for 80% of smog-forming pollution and 95% of toxic diesel emissions.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” Newsom said. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe.

“Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse — and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has been directed to develop regulations to mandate the zero-emission vehicle target, which could achieve a 35%-plus reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80% improvement in oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide. 

In addition, CARB is to develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles be 100% zero emission “by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks.” 

‘Vehicle Innovation’

To ensure there is infrastructure to support zero-emission vehicles, the order requires California’s agencies, in partnership with the private sector, to accelerate deploying “affordable fueling and charging options.”

Also required is support for new and used zero-emission vehicle markets to enable “broad accessibility to zero-emission vehicles for all Californians.” 

The EO, however, would not prevent Californians from owning gasoline-powered cars or selling them on the used car market.

“California will be leading the nation,” the state said, “joining 15 countries that have already committed to phase out gasoline-powered cars and using our market power to push zero-emission vehicle innovation and drive down costs for everyone.”

By 2035 when the initial rules are to take effect, “zero-emission vehicles will almost certainly be cheaper and better than the traditional fossil fuel powered cars,” Newsom said. “The upfront cost of electric vehicles are projected to reach parity with conventional vehicles in just a matter of years, and the cost of owning the car, both in maintenance and how much it costs to power the car mile for mile, is far less than a fossil fuel-burning vehicle.”

State agencies have been directed to develop strategies for an “integrated, statewide rail and transit network,” and to “incorporate safe and accessible infrastructure into projects to support bicycle and pedestrian options, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities.”

The action, said the governor, continues his “commitment to strengthening California’s resilience while lowering carbon emissions — essential to meeting California’s air quality and climate goals. 

CARB already has approved rules requiring truck manufacturers to transition to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024. Newsom also has signed a memorandum of understanding with 14 states “to advance and accelerate the market for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.”

California also is part of a multi-state coalition challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to revoke portions of a 2013 waiver that allows the state to implement its advanced clean car standards.