Global automakers resist California legislative push for Clean Cars Act

A legislative effort by state Rep. Phil Ting (D-CA) that would mandate vehicles sold after Jan. 1, 2040, to produce zero emissions has been met with opposition by the Association of Global Automakers, who dismissed it as unachievable.

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“It’s time that we clear the path for emissions-free transportation and take significant steps to achieve our ambitious emissions reduction goals,” Ting said in an address of his Clean Cars 2040 Act. “AB 1745 does just that by requiring that all new cars registered in the State of California –after Jan. 1, 2040 – be zero-emissions vehicles. We’re at an inflection point: we’ve got to address the harmful emissions that cause climate change. Achieving the goal of electrification of transportation is crucial for the health of our people and the planet. Vehicles run on fossil fuels are responsible for nearly 40 percent of California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By spurring the use of zero-emissions vehicles, we’re creating a mechanism to ensure a healthier future for Californians, and the entire region.”

The legislation has been backed by such groups as NextGen, Earthjustice, and Brightline Defense, showing support from those on the side of environmental justice. Yet automakers appear unmoved. In their response, the Association of Global Automakers noted it was the market, not government mandate, that needs to drive the flowering of green commitment.

“Automakers are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our vehicle fleet and have made huge investments in green technologies,” Global Automakers wrote in a statement. “More than 35 models of battery, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell electric vehicles are available to consumers today, and more are introduced each year. While we are still evaluating this proposal, California has laid out another ambitious goal that will, unfortunately, be unachievable unless the state substantially increases and maintains public investment in incentives and infrastructure. A self-sustaining market, based on consumer demand for green technologies, will be much more powerful and long-lasting than government mandates or regulations.”