Ramifications of California Governor Newsom’s ban on sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035
Guest essay by Ronald Stein
Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure, Irvine, California
Before sky diving, you need to plan ahead by having a parachute before you jump. California Governor Newsom’s recent suicidal jump onto the EV train has a minimum of eight (8) lack-of-a-plan ramifications from his recent Executive order to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035 that will be devastating to the state’s economy and environment:
- Vehicle ownership: With 45 percent of the California population – that’s a whopping 18 of the 40 million residents of the state – being Hispanic and African American – having average incomes of less than half of present EV owners, the Governor is incentivizing those least likely being able to afford a new car to continuously re-register their existing vehicles. Additionally, California has the highest homeless population, and the fifth largest percentage of homeless (behind D.C., New York, and Hawaii, and Oregon, and has the second highest poverty rate.
- Vintage cars: Re-registering those less fuel efficient, and bigger emission polluters, than state-of-the-art gas-powered newer vehicles that will be banned in the state will result in many of the current 31 million registered vehicles producing more emissions in the decades ahead and have California replacing CUBA as the vintage car capital of the world.
- SUV’s: By 2025, the sale of light-trucks that includes S.U.V.s, vans and pickups may make up 78 percent of sales, leaving sedans in the dust. The larger SUV EV’s require more power and are more costly than the smaller less experience EV sedans. Current and future SUV owners may be reluctant to downgrade to smaller EV sedans that are dominating the EV markets.
- Electricity for charging EV’s: The Governor wants to add more electrical charging demands onto a dysfunctional energy program that has already shuttered one nuclear power plant and three natural gas power plants in recent years (total of 4 in recent years), and has five more to shutter in the cross hairs – the last nuclear plant at Diablo Canyon and four more natural gas power plants. The four targeted natural gas plant closure have been given a temporary stay-of-execution due to recent blackouts, but their I end is approaching. California already imports more electricity than any other state– currently at 32 percent from the Northwest and Southwest and dysfunctionally HOPES that other states will be able to generate enough power to meet the demands of the state, from the shuttering of nine (9) in-state power plants in a decade, that have been providing continuous uninterruptible electricity.
- Products demanded by societies: Governor Newsom fails to understand that the oil and gas industry is not just a California business with its few refineries, but an international industry with more than 700 refineries worldwide that manufacture the derivatives from oil that are needed to make more than 6,000 products, that are essential to our medical industry, electronics, communications, transportation infrastructure, our electricity generation, our cooling, heating, manufacturing, and agriculture—indeed, virtually every aspect of our daily lives and lifestyles. Those thousands of products we did not have before 1900 are made from petroleum derivatives are more important than the various fuels needed for aviation, trucking, automobiles, and cruise ship segments that brought a standstill to commerce during the pandemic.
- The dark side of EV batteries; The Governor’s actions are supportive of jumping onto the EV train, knowing that EV’s have a very dark side of environmental atrocities that the Governor is willing to “leak” to other countries for their support of what he perceives as a “clean” industry. The shift to the exotic minerals and metals used to produce the parts for industrial wind and solar electricity, and for electric car batteries, are highly concentrated in a small number of countries and their extraction from mining and refinement pose a serious threat to worldwide ecological degradation and heinous human rights abuses that have been documented by the United Nation and Amnesty International.
- Fees for road maintenance: Governor Newsom may have forgotten that whatever type of vehicles use the roads, there are huge funding requirements for both California’s transportation infrastructure, and for the environmental compliance programs, that have come from the gas pumps. California has almost 400,000 miles of roadways that are heavily dependent on road taxes from fuel that contribute more than $7 billion annually, the same tax base that will be diminishing in the decades ahead.
- VMT: The Vehicle Mileage Tax (VMT) that has been discussed for years sounds like a logical idea – requiring the users of the highways to pay the fees to maintain those highways. The challenge will be how to implement that great idea which may require annual odometer readings! Lookout for Governor Newsom’s next Executive Order for a VMT requiring annual odometer readings so that each person pays their fair share to maintains the roads they are using to replace the diminishing fuel taxes!
The list of other negative ramifications, like impacts on the energy employment market, maintaining a supply of one-fifth of the nation’s jet fuel consumption to the states airports, and future escalating energy costs for all 40 million residents of the state. The list goes on while Governor Newsom continues dancing!