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New York moves to ban new gas cars and trucks by 2035

The Empire State follows California's lead in pushing for zero-emissions vehicles.

NY's legislation paves the way for more EVs, along with hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

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New York is moving to effectively ban the sales of nearly all new gas- and diesel-powered cars and trucks in the state by 2035. New legislation, which mandates that all new passenger cars, light trucks and off-road vehicles sold in the state be zero emissions by 2035, was signed by State Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday.

Legislation A.4302/S.2758 also includes a directive to the state's Department of Environmental Conservation to "release a proposed regulation that would significantly reduce air pollution from trucks." The action affords a longer timeline for new medium- and heavy-duty trucks to go emissions-free -- they have until 2045.

In a blog post from the Governor's office announcing the signing, DEC Commisioner Basil Seggos said, "Today's announcement demonstrates New York's commitment to reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions from the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, the transportation sector." Seggos also noted that, "when adopted, this new regulation will require an increasing percentage of all new trucks sold in New York to be zero-emissions vehicles beginning with the 2025 model year." The moves, which come in advance of NYC Climate Week 2021, are all part of the state's plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050.

According to the state's own Office of Climate Change, New York presently defines zero-emissions vehicles as "all-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles," at least for the purposes of zero-emission vehicle rebates in 2021. While capable of running purely on electricity, plug-in hybrids, also known as PHEVs, actually include small internal-combustion engines in order to charge and/or power a vehicle when its main battery is depleted. In other words, there can be times when these vehicles operate when they are not truly zero emissions. 

New York says it is spending upwards of $1 billion across all types of zero-emissions vehicles over the next 5 years.

It's likewise important to note that Wednesday's action, which mirrors previous California legislation, will not impact the legality of existing gas- and diesel vehicles sold in New York ahead of that 2035 deadline -- the government is not working to ban vehicles that are already privately owned.

It is not immediately clear what penalties (if any) Legislation A.4302/S.2758 would apply to automakers who fail to meet these zero-emissions goals.