Better a consumer-led market change than a hard-nosed edict

Thursday, September 24, 2020
Chris Woodward (

electric car chargingThe Democratic governor of California has announced plans to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles in his state in less than two decades. A free-market expert in Sacramento says the governor's edict isn't necessary because consumers there are already demonstrating a preference for electric vehicles.

Governor Gavin Newsom made the announcement on Wednesday as part of an executive order which bans the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles in the state by 2035. Newsom argues the move will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help combat what he believes is man-made climate change.

"We are advancing the cause with the support of the California Air Resources Board to once again lead not only this nation, but in many respects lead the world in terms of establishing a framework where we can accelerate innovation, we can accelerate adaptation and adoption, and we can in turn grow the economic pie here in the state of California, bringing more and more Californians along," the governor said.

Steven Greenhut, western region director of the R Street Institute, points out the market is already moving in the direction of electric vehicles, especially in the Golden State.


"Out here, electric cars are popular," Greenhut tells OneNewsNow. "[The governor's order is] just another edict that's going to raise prices on people and make it tougher for lower-income people, mandating all sorts of changes in our infrastructure when the market is already moving in that direction."

He adds there is still an environmental concern with electric vehicles (EVs).

"I like electric cars, but they shift the pollution from the tailpipe to the electricity generating plant – but the market is sorting these things out and I don't think the governor should be doing this," Greenhut continues.

In his announcement, Governor Newsome stated: "This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change …. Our cars shouldn't make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn't melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines."

Greenhut accuses Newsome of being overly focused on climate change.

"[I'm] not saying it isn't happening, but he's ignoring the real-world policy choices that he could be making," he explains, "like with the wildfires [where] it's more of a land management and a bureaucracy issue that he's not dealing with."

Governor Newsom's order will not prevent someone from owning a gas-powered vehicle in 2035. It also allows for the sale of gas-powered vehicles on the used car market.


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