Is California’s EV mandate in 2024 aligned with other states?

In recent news, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia has announced that the state will no longer be following California’s stricter emissions standards. This decision means that Virginia will not be on track to end sales of nearly all new internal-combustion cars by 2035 as initially planned. While most northeastern states, as well as Nevada and Minnesota, continue to abide by California rules and their EV mandates, Virginia has chosen to opt out.

## Virginia’s Departure from California Emissions Standards

Virginia had previously passed a law in 2021 to follow California’s emissions rules, giving the state the option to adopt stricter standards beyond federal regulations. However, Governor Youngkin cited an opinion from Virginia’s attorney general, Jason Miyares, stating that the law does not necessitate adherence to the latest round of standards known as Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II). As a result, Virginia plans to revert to federal emissions standards beginning on January 1, 2025.

## Impact of ACC II Zero-Emission Vehicle Sales Targets

Under ACC II, California’s rules require that a percentage of new vehicle sales must be battery electric or plug-in hybrid, ultimately leading to all-electric vehicles comprising 100% of cars and light trucks by 2035. This gradual transition includes mandates such as 17% of sales in 2023, 19.5% in 2024, and 22% in 2025. While Virginia has faced challenges regarding these standards in the past, the change in governorship in 2022 likely influenced the decision to withdraw from the California rules.

## States Adhering to California’s Emissions Rules

A total of 13 states along with the District of Columbia have adopted California’s EV mandates, dividing the vehicle market in the U.S. Almost equally. States such as Washington, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and D.C. have all embraced the EV mandates, with Connecticut and Maine planning to follow suit. Despite Nevada and Minnesota previously following California’s emissions rules, these states have not yet formally adopted the ACC II regulations and the EV sales mandate.

## Variability in EV Sales Compliance

While California and other states have implemented EV mandates to transition towards cleaner vehicles, the actual adoption of electric vehicles among consumers does not always align with these regulations. A 2021 survey revealed that three out of the five states with the highest number of EVs did not have mandates at the time. Additionally, California has a commercial truck EV mandate with an aim for all-EV truck sales by 2045, although fewer states have taken steps towards this transition.

## Conclusion
In light of Governor Glenn Youngkin’s decision to end Virginia’s alignment with California’s emissions rules, the state’s automotive landscape is likely to see a different trajectory than initially planned. While several other states have embraced EV mandates to promote cleaner transportation, the adoption of electric vehicles among consumers remains a variable factor. The divergent approaches taken by states in addressing emissions and EV mandates highlight the complex relationship between government regulations and consumer behavior in the automotive industry. As the transition towards electric vehicles continues to unfold, the impact of state-level decisions on environmental sustainability and innovation within the transportation sector will be closely monitored.

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