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Is the End Near for Gas-powered Vehicles? The push for zero-emissions vehicles continues in the Golden State.

As global pollution remains a hot topic, there has been an increased push to eliminate the use of fossil-fuels. For obvious reasons, the automotive industry has been targeted on the subject as the transportation sector produces a good portion of the pollution that negatively effects the world we live in. Though we shouldn’t ignore this current situation, we don’t believe that freedoms of buying a gas-powered vehicle should be taken away.

  Capitol of California

The Initiative

On the 23rd of September 2020, California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to require that all new cars sold in the Golden State must emit zero-emissions starting in 2035. Furthermore, all medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sold and operated in the state shall also emit zero-emissions by 2045. “This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” said Governor Newsom. “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.”

Gas Ban with  Premier Street Rod's Sinister '56 Chevy

What Does This Mean?

This bold move from the California Governor proves his efforts to try and lead the movement to reduce pollution and set a stage for other states and countries to follow. There has also been confusion that he is banning all gas-powered vehicles and that is not the truth here. Californians will still be able to buy and sell used vehicles that run on gas. However, who knows how this will affect gas prices and if it will make it more difficult to own and maintain a non-zero-emission vehicle.

Chevrolet '62 E-10 Concept Truck

Can it Be Done?

First of all, there has been a recent battle with the Trump administration pushing to revoke California’s ability to set greenhouse gas tailpipe standards and electric vehicle programs that are more stringent than federal emissions or fuel economy standards. President Trump claims that by setting new regulations, the auto industry will take a hit. Other than these political battles, we can only presume that banning gas vehicles will make it difficult for many people as ZEV’s (zero-emission vehicles) are higher priced at the moment while other low-emissions commuter style cars tend to be more affordable. Other than the higher cost to switch, another issue is that not everyone can physically make it happen. Most EVs are charged at home, so for those who own a house, they can add a charging system to their property, but those that rent don’t have that option.

Electric Vehicle Battery

The Issues

Though ZEV’s have been praised, they do come with their own set of issues. First of all, they do not have the range that gas-powered cars have, and charging is a much longer process. In order to make the batteries, rare earth stones have to be mined and this action creates more pollution as well. Though there are no emissions coming out of a tailpipe on these cars, they do consume electricity that is still largely sourced from burning fossil-fuels like natural gas and coal. Furthermore, their production still leaves a large carbon footprint and retired batteries are creating an issue as well.

Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 1400

The Benefits

It has been proven that electric cars can be quite fun when compared standard cars. Launches from these vehicles are very quick as the engines release instant power. Also, maintenance costs are lower too as there are less components than on a traditional vehicle. We’ve even seen electric motor conversions like on Chevrolet’s E-10 concept truck and prototypes like the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 that show the potential performance gains these new components bring to the table. Given the pros and the cons, these technologies do prove that you can sustain an electric vehicle in real world conditions. They don’t completely solve the problems with emissions, but with time they will get better.

Boneyard Build's C10 at 2019 SEMA Show

The Battle Begins

It is claimed that with the future mandate of ZEV’s, more jobs will be created. This may be true, but the movement will also take jobs away from others and will have an impact on the aftermarket industry. Seeing how this makes the future questionable for many businesses, SEMA (yes, the same organization that puts on the SEMA Show) is taking action against the executive order.

SEMA Show Aerial Image

“SEMA is deeply disappointed in Governor Newsom’s decision to escalate his ongoing feud with the Trump Administration at the expense of the consumer and California’s small businesses,” said Daniel Ingber, SEMA vice president of government and legal affairs. “SEMA will work with the industry and enthusiasts in opposing the Governor’s proposal on all fronts.” As we wait for more on this subject, you can stay up to date with all of SEMA’s latest actions by heading to their website.

Emissions sticker on Tony Leal's '61 Ford F100

Keeping the Dream Alive

It’s good to see leaders make initiatives towards a greener tomorrow but they shouldn’t come by way of robbing our freedoms. The ability to own and customize a gas-powered vehicle is all a part of the “American Dream.” Though there is a real issue with pollution on our planet, we must find solutions that are easier for everyone to abide by. Instead of banning vehicles, maybe we simply limit them while also making it a point to continue making them more efficient. Only time will tell what the future holds and we hope we will still be able to keep our automotive dreams alive.

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