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California leads U.S. sprint towards electric vehicles

by Matthew Lavietes | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 3 February 2021 19:59 GMT

A worker descends from the top deck of a car carrier trailer carrying Tesla electric vehicles at Tesla's primary vehicle factory in Fremont, California, U.S. May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

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California is 'far and away' leading U.S. transition efforts to electric vehicles, according to a new study

By Matthew Lavietes

NEW YORK, Feb 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - California is "far and away" leading the U.S. shift to electric vehicles, researchers said on Wednesday, as President Joe Biden's new administration steps up its clean energy drive.

California, the most populous U.S. state, is the only one with deadlines for electrifying transit buses, heavy trucks, and commercial vehicles, found an analysis by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a nonprofit.

"The governor is setting very robust targets for us in the state," said Patty Monahan of the California Energy Commission, which oversees energy policy, referring to an executive order to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks by 2035.

"We are working hard to make sure that we can meet those goals," the commissioner told reporters via livestream.

The United States is the world's second-biggest greenhouse gas emitter behind China, with the power and transport sectors making up more than half of the emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Since taking office on Jan. 20, Biden has vowed to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and boost sales of electric vehicles, to decarbonize the U.S. power sector by 2035 and signed an executive order to rejoin the Paris Climate accord.

Biden has also promised to replace the government's fleet of roughly 650,000 cars with electric models and to build 550,000 electric vehicle charging stations to forge a clean energy future, reversing the policies of his predecessor Donald Trump. .

In the ACEEE's first ranking of states according to their support for electric vehicles, California scored 91 out of 100 points, with New York taking second place at 63.5 and Washington D.C. coming in third with 59 points.

California is one of few states to help lower-income drivers replace old, high-polluting cars with cleaner vehicles and plans to deploy chargers in poorer communities, ACEEE said.

Twenty states scored 15 points or less.

"All states can improve their policies," said Bryan Howard, the report's lead author.

"The leading states are embracing this transition, but many more are just starting, even as the automakers are preparing a burst of new electric models."

Last week, General Motors Co, the largest U.S. automaker, said it aimed to end the sale of new gasoline and diesel-powered cars, SUVs and light pickup trucks by 2035, in a dramatic shift seen by some as a gamechanger for the industry.

On Wednesday, White House domestic climate change adviser Gina McCarthy said the administration has started discussions with major players in the utility and automobile sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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(Reporting by Matthew Lavietes; Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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