By Meg Hansen
In 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order banning the sale of most internal combustion engines (ICE) by 2035. The ban will impact 15 other states including Vermont that are legally tied to California’s emissions regulations.
In response to California’s executive order, a new multi-state coalition — represented by the Ethan Allen Institute in Vermont — has formed to raise awareness about these CA-derived regulations and the ICE ban that will negatively impact most of New England.
At the March 10 virtual press conference, EAI President offered the following remarks:
“First, Vermont is not a colony of California. It is anti-democratic and irrational for Vermont lawmakers to cede regulatory authority over our vehicle standards to another state. In 2000, The State of Vermont adopted California’s Low-Emission Vehicle criteria and Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulations. Minimizing air pollution by regulating tailpipe emissions is one thing, but imposing a blanket ban on the dominant vehicle technology is another.
Second, technology bans and mandates cannot succeed in the absence of affordable alternatives. Banning gasoline-powered vehicles cannot and will not force a transition to zero-emission vehicles because ZEV technology is not affordable or easily available at present. Electric vehicles (EV) have miles to go before they can compete in the market without the aid of government subsidies and tax credits. Real solutions would focus on improving EV technology, which involves giving the process the time it needs and the space to fail and evolve. Commanding that ICE vehicles become obsolete by 2030 or 2035 achieves nothing but political points.
Finally, in the face of record high gas prices and inflation, Vermont policymakers need to expand choices and not limit our ability to commute to work and put food on the table. The vast majority of Americans don’t have disposable income to ride inflation waves and stick to the (Russian) man — as many in positions of power and influence are demanding. Speaking of moral imperatives, we should not implement policies that will make the average Vermonter poorer.”
Meg Hansen is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.