No Gas-Powered Cars?


Photo courtesy of Flickr user William Warby


New York joins California and Massachusetts in pledging to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. The bill passed the assembly by a vote of 110-40 with all Democrats and three Republicans voting in favor, and it passed the senate in a party-line 44-18 vote. It then goes to Governor Cuomo, who is expected to sign it into law. 

The law doesn’t ban driving gas-powered cars; it will just take away the option to buy a new one. The average driver holds onto their car for 11.5 years on average. We’re watching what happens with building charging infrastructure. The state of California has invested in almost 1 gigawatt of energy storage in the form of giant batteries. This is what we’re going to need (and much more) to be able to charge all the electric vehicles we’re bringing online.

New York is already the lowest-emitting state per capita and has a pretty clean electrical grid. While natural gas does make up the largest chunk (37 percent) of their electricity generation, a majority of New York’s electricity is generated by zero-emissions sources like nuclear and hydroelectric power. In particular, upstate New York is largely fueled by hydroelectric power, much of that from Quebec, which is both zero carbon and one of the cheapest forms of electricity generation.

Because of this, an electric car fueled in New York is among the lowest-emission personal transportation options available in the U.S. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a lifetime analysis shows an average EV fueled on grid electricity in upstate New York emits the same amount of CO2 as a theoretical 231-mpg gas car, which makes it about 10 times cleaner than the average new gas car. By 2035, as New York continues to de-carbonize its electrical grid and more car owners get solar roofs, this number will surely improve even more.

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