VT to Ban Gas-Powered Vehicles by 2035

In 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order banning the sale of most internal combustion engines (ICE) by 2035. The ban will impact 15 other states including Vermont that are legally tied to California’s emissions regulations.

In response to California’s executive order, a new multi-state coalition – represented by the Ethan Allen Institute in Vermont – has formed to raise awareness about these CA-derived regulations and the ICE ban that will negatively impact most of New England.


At the March 10 virtual press conference, EAI President offered the following remarks – 

"First, Vermont is not a colony of California. It is anti-democratic and irrational for Vermont lawmakers to cede regulatory authority over our vehicle standards to another state. In 2000, The State of Vermont adopted California’s Low-Emission Vehicle criteria and Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulations. Minimizing air pollution by regulating tailpipe emissions is one thing, but imposing a blanket ban on the dominant vehicle technology is another.

Second, technology bans and mandates cannot succeed in the absence of affordable alternatives. Banning gasoline-powered vehicles cannot and will not force a transition to zero-emission vehicles because ZEV technology is not affordable or easily available at present. Electric vehicles (EV) have miles to go before they can compete in the market without the aid of government subsidies and tax credits. Real solutions would focus on improving EV technology, which involves giving the process the time it needs and the space to fail and evolve. Commanding that ICE vehicles become obsolete by 2030 or 2035 achieves nothing but political points.

Finally, in the face of record high gas prices and inflation, Vermont policymakers need to expand choices and not limit our ability to commute to work and put food on the table. The vast majority of Americans don’t have disposable income to ride inflation waves and stick to the (Russian) man – as many in positions of power and influence are demanding. Speaking of moral imperatives, we should not implement policies that will make the average Vermonter poorer.”


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  • Christian M
    commented 2022-03-20 15:48:38 -0400
    Meg, thanks for your response.

    What economics dictates that prices for EVs will drastically increase? And are you using that as a raw number or compared against an index or median income? EVs only made up 2.9% of new-vehicle sales in 2021. (https://blog.nada.org/2022/01/11/nada-issues-analysis-of-2021-auto-sales-2022-sales-forecast/). Are you factoring 13 years of increasing market share, 13 years of capital investment, and 13 years of technological advancement into your prediction?

    I don’t think the facts you’ve brought up are “uncomfortable”, they’re just concerns. Rare earth metal extraction is an issue for EVs and ICE vehicles (as well as many other consumer electronics). EV batteries are toxic and recycling does need to improve (capital is flowing towards EV recycling). While lead-acid batteries are more recyclable, they are toxic as well when not properly recycled. There are greater concerns for the electric grid than just EVs as other areas push for electrification, however this isn’t a reason to not adopt technologies, but instead a reason to ensure that we are maintaining and upgrading our electric grid. Your concern about federal subsidies is valid for discussion and I hope is a consistent view across other issues and not just for one technology you seemingly disagree with.

    Why did you paste that paragraph about the first 60,000km and not the next one which states “Comparing electric with gasoline cars, the International Energy Agency estimates the electric car will save six tons of CO₂ over its lifetime, assuming global average electricity emissions.” Your own source says that the lifetime emissions are lower for electric than gasoline cars. What a weird cherrypick on your part. Even that research is missing the context of EV utilization within the American power grid and even further that in Vermont (which is what your comments were referring to for the 2035 ban). Feel free to go to the EPA’s website and read their resources on EV myths which supports the IEA research your article cited (https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/electric-vehicle-myths). To go even further on this point, head on over to the Beyond Tailpipe Emissions calculator which actually compares emissions at a zip code level to see an even greater argument for EV emissions reductions when in Vermont (https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?year=&vehicleId=&zipCode=&action=bt3). Lastly, if you truly concerned about EV emissions, buy a used EV where the manufacturing emissions are already baked in.
  • Meg Hansen
    commented 2022-03-14 18:15:39 -0400
    My detailed response to Christian M.’s comments ––

    “ZEV technology is not affordable or easily available at present”.

    An accurate and honest price comparison of ICE and electric vehicles must consider the direct and indirect costs involved – not merely the retail price. This study compare the monetary costs of fueling EVs vs. ICE vehicles in the entry-level, mid-priced and luxury segments. The authors conclude that “EVs often cost more to fuel than similar ICE vehicles.” 


    For example, public EV charging stations are expensive (“impose per kWh fees that are double or triple that of residential electric power costs”) and not easy to locate. It makes most sense to install an at-home EV charging station. As a Level 1 charger does not provide sufficient charge for long commutes (the norm in Vermont), EV owners are advised to purchase Level 2 chargers. 

    The cost of installing a Level 2 charger for 2 cars with a 240-volt outlet, pedestal mount, and circuit panel upgrade ranges from $1600 to $4500. (Most homes don’t have a 240V outlet and would require renovation and installing a special electrical circuit).

    “You can’t use the vehicle you are using now”.

    Your response to my quote above reveals an inability to grasp the knock-on effects of such a ban.

    How will automobile manufacturers respond to a blanket ban (across16 states including CA and NY) on the dominant vehicle technology? Economics dictates that they will drastically increase prices to fund the speedy and wholesale replacement of ICE vehicles with EVs. Higher prices for new cars = higher prices for used car prices.

    A car doesn’t last forever. Eventually, the one you currently drive will need repairs and/or replacement. How many of us will be able to afford it then? You may nitpick on semantics but the fact remains – middle class and low income Americans will face a very different vehicle reality should VT impose this ban.

    EVs have become a symbolic purchase to signal one’s seriousness about addressing climate catastrophism. ICE vehicles bad, EVs good – that’s not reality. A multitude of complex and concerning factors – corporate motives, geopolitical dynamics, pollution, human rights violations, and growing US energy poverty – are associated with the EV industry. 

    Here are 5 uncomfortable truths about EVs.

    1) Why is the mining of rare earth minerals for EV batteries not considered exploitative to human beings and ecological systems?



    2) EV batteries are toxic, flammable, and less than 5% are recycled. Lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and other metals found in EV batteries can contaminate soil and groundwater. China has now begun grappling with this new environmental crisis. To compare, 100% of the lead in lead-acid car batteries gets recycled into new batteries. 


    3) "China’s share of global lithium and cobalt demand for transport (the dominant end use) is likely to rise to about 68% by 2030. China’s leading role is likely to have a major bearing on raw material trade flows and concomitant supply chain risks." 


    4) In 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy studied how the mass adoption of EVs would impact the electricity demand. The report predicts that U.S. electricity consumption would increase by 20% and 38% respectively in the medium-adoption and high-adoption scenarios for 2050.

    Can the electric grid handle such drastic increases without collapsing into blackouts (i.e. energy scarcity)? What are the overall costs of energy scarcity/ poverty?

    5) Federal studies show that 42 percent of EV buyers make more than $150,000/ year and 82% have 6-figure incomes. Another study found that most people who took advantage of the federal tax credit to buy an EV would have bought one without the tax credit.

    The EV sector is propped up with massive government subsidies. Why are we forcing middle class and low income Americans to subsidize wealthy people’s vehicle purchases?

    And to what end is all this impoverishing of society and the environment?​ ​D​o ​EVs meaningfully reduce emissions? No.

    ​"The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2030, if all countries live up to their promises, the world will have 140 million electric cars on the road, about 7 per cent of the global vehicle fleet. Yet, this would not make a significant impact on emissions — for two reasons.

    First, electric cars require large batteries, which are often produced in China using coal power. According to the IEA, just producing the battery for an electric car can emit almost as much as a quarter of the greenhouse gases that a gasoline car emits across its entire lifetime.

    Second, the electric car is recharged on electricity that almost everywhere is significantly fossil fuel based. Together, these two factors mean that, over its first 60,000 km, a long-range electric car will emit more CO₂ than a gas car. Having a second electric car for short trips could actually mean higher overall emissions."


    The only egregious impulse here is turning a blind eye to these numerous, complicated considerations and basking in the light of bias-affirming articles.

    Meg Hansen
  • Christian M
    commented 2022-03-14 10:14:57 -0400
    Unfortunately, Meg’s comments represent a fundamental misunderstanding of California’s internal combustion engine phaseout. I am responding to two egregious ones in particular:

    “ZEV technology is not affordable or easily available at present”.

    While yes the upfront cost of an average electric vehicle ($56,437) is more expensive than the upfront cost of an average gas vehicle ($46,329) (https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/29/electric-vehicles-are-becoming-more-affordable-amid-spiking-gas-prices.html), there are many electric vehicles (new and used) that come in substantially less than the average gas vehicle price (https://www.edmunds.com/electric-car/articles/cheapest-electric-cars/). The current electric vehicle market is dominated by luxury vehicles which also pushes that number higher (the same can be said for the rush away from sedans pushing up the average gas vehicle price as well). In addition, reduced maintenance costs of EVs are an additional touted benefit (although we might want to wait for longer timelines on data).

    However, the more important fact is that this phaseout will occur in 2035, not at present. The fact that something is as Meg describes “not affordable or easily available at present” has no bearing on what the market will be 13 years from now when this phaseout will occur. California’s research identified price parity as soon as 2022 and 2024 depending on the vehicle segment (https://efiling.energy.ca.gov/GetDocument.aspx?tn=233410&DocumentContentId=65926).

    “You can’t use the vehicle you are using now”.

    This is factually inaccurate. The order mandates that “100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035”. There is nothing stopping people from using the car they are using now well into the future. This order also only applies to new car and truck sales, not the used market.
  • David Flemming
    published this page in EAI Blog 2022-03-10 14:35:02 -0500