The gas-powered vehicle ban dominoes have begun to fall.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Thursday that the state will follow California’s lead in banning the sale of new gas- or diesel-powered cars beginning in 2035. Like the Golden State, New York has also set interim targets: 35% of new cars sold must be zero-emissions by 2026, and 68% by 2030.
The plan is still not quite finalized, though. Hochul directed the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation to implement the new rules, and it will still have to hold a public hearing and open comment period before finalizing them.
This comes just a month after California threw down the gauntlet and restricted future internal combustion vehicle sales. Given that more than a dozen states — including New York — have adopted California's previous tailpipe standards, it was likely at least some of those states would follow the Golden State's lead on zero-emissions vehicle sales. New York is the first state to do so, though others such as Massachusetts, Washington, and Virginia are likely to follow suit in the near future.
“We had to wait for California to take a step because there’s some federal requirements that California had to go first — that’s the only time we’re letting them go first,” Hochul said at a press conference, in reference to a Clean Air Act provision that allows California alone to set its own vehicle emissions standards. A policy quirk allows other states to adopt those standards, but not to lead the way.
In addition to the gas-powered car sales ban, Hochul also announced that the state will invest $10 million in its existing Drive Clean Rebate program to encourage New Yorkers to purchase EVs. The program offers a point-of-sale rebate of up to $2,000 off a car’s sticker price, and can be combined with federal rebates like the $7,500 tax credit on new EVs. In its five years of existence, the program has handed out $92 million in rebates statewide, according to a press release. The state is also making $5.75 million available to local governments to transition their fleets to zero-emission vehicles and install public EV chargers and hydrogen fueling stations.
New York, along with 49 other states plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., also had its EV charging plan approved by the Biden administration. That will unlock some of the $175 million in funding for EV charging set aside for the state as part of the bipartisan infrastructure law. Building out charging infrastructure could help make it that much easier for the state to meet its zero-emissions vehicle sales mandate.