EPA Chief Calls Out California Governor Over New Ban on Gas and Diesel-Powered Vehicles

Sacramento, CA – The Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is calling out California Governor Gavin Newsom over a new executive order (EO) requiring the elimination of sales of new gas and diesel-powered vehicles.

On September 23, 2020, Gov. Newsom issued an order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in the State be zero-emission by 2045.


In a statement at the time, Gov. Newsom said the move to aggressively curb California’s carbon pollution was long-overdue.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” he said.

In a letter dated September 28, 2020, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler questioned the legality of Gov. Newsom’s order and blasted the governor for his failure to “keep the lights on” in California.

“Beyond the significant questions of legality and the fact that consumer demand for the type of vehicle you would mandate has never met the aspirations of California’s political leadership, your state is already struggling to maintain reliable electricity for today’s demands,” Wheeler wrote. “California’s record of rolling blackouts — unprecedented in size and scope — coupled with recent requests to neighboring states for power begs the question of how you expect to run an electric car fleet that will come with significant increases in electricity demand, when you can’t even keep the lights on today.”


Wheeler was just getting started.

“The truth is that if the state were driving 100 percent electric vehicles today, the state would be dealing with even more power shortages than the ones that have already caused a serious of otherwise preventable environmental and public health consequences,” he wrote.

Wheeler warned of “unintended harm” caused by overzealous environmental regulations while also expressing that the Trump Administration shares the “goal of a modern, more efficient and environmentally friendly future.”

“We have modernized regulations that reduce all manner of emissions from power plants, factories, aircraft and vehicles while avoiding unnecessary consequences,” he said. “We stand ready to assist so the 40 million residents of California too can enjoy a better environmental future without enduring any unintended harm.”


According to Gov. Newsom’s EO, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will oversee the development of regulations and implementation of the new rules.

In June, CARB unanimously adopted a first-in-the-world rule, known as the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Regulation, requiring truck manufacturers to transition from diesel trucks and vans to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024.

Click HERE to read more about ACT.

In July, a coalition of 15 states signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) pledging to ban all sales of new diesel-powered big rigs by 2050.

Click HERE to read more about the ban.


Critics of the ban say many questions remain about the viability of electric big rigs and point to the massive costs of building the infrastructure and charging stations throughout the country to service them.

Further, opponents of such measures assert the anti-business and burdensome regulatory climate in many of these states has only contributed to the problem.

Many trucking companies have been unable to afford to replenish its fleet with trucks equipped with “clean diesel technology,” resulting in higher emitting trucks left on the road for longer, critics contend.

Photo courtesy of nacfe.org



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