WASHINGTON – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has proposed a bill that would outlaw the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles within the U.S. starting in 2035.
The Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act contains a “zero-emission vehicle mandate” that would amend the Clean Air Act to require 80 percent of vehicle manufacturers’ U.S. sales to be derived from zero-emissions vehicles by 2027. The requirement would increase to 100 percent of sales in the U.S. by 2035. The goal of the legislation is to “justly transition away from fossil fuel sources of energy to 100 percent clean energy by 2035.”
Starting in 2019, every vehicle manufacturer would have to submit an annual report containing “documentation of sales by the vehicle manufacturer of zero-emission vehicles as a percentage of the total sales vehicles of the vehicle manufacturer in the preceding year” as well as how they plan to meet the 2027 and 2035 mandates.
Gabbard said the bill would move the “entire country forward” without “leaving anyone behind” by investing in clean-energy technologies as well as job-retraining programs for coal miners.
“We have to work together to make this happen. We can’t afford the consequences of failing to act now. If we don’t bring people together to solve this challenge, we will fail to protect the future for many generations to come from the devastating economic and environment consequences of climate change,” Gabbard said at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
Maryland state Del. Shane Robinson (D), who spoke at the press conference in support of the bill, told PJM why he would support a ban on the sale of gasoline vehicles in the state of Maryland.
“I think a ban would be useful to push industry more quickly. I believe GM has already talked about moving away from internal combustion engines. We’ve seen action in the UK, in France, in Germany to move as nations away from this, so we can get on that bandwagon to help make this go faster,” he said.
“We want industry and we want corporations to see the writing on the wall and say ‘if we care about our stockholders, we’re going to get on this early rather than waiting around and producing things that are eventually going to be phased out legislatively,’” he added. “So I would be in favor of it.”
Robinson said more charging stations are needed around the nation. State and local governments, he said, must “take some initiative” on the infrastructure that’s needed to support electric cars.
“I mean, everybody I talk to wants an electric car, they are just not affordable for them or practical. I live in a townhouse with street parking so it’s harder for me to have an electric vehicle because you’ve got HOA rules about digging up the sidewalk. So those are other laws we would have to look into,” he said.
“It’s a complex thing, but it’s not difficult. It’s just multifaceted and complex. We just need people to lead on this and say ‘look, we’re going to do it,’ and then work backwards on how we actually get there. We’ve done much harder things, you know; we went to the Moon,” he added.
Robinson said a statewide ban on gasoline vehicles would serve as a “symbolic act” and help push the private sector to innovate at a faster pace.
“Just a symbolic act out in the future would help us all move in that direction. If California does it, I think that’s going to directly affect the market in a way that Maryland could never affect the market,” he said.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) called Gabbard’s legislation “the best bill ever.”
“The fight will not be easy, but we don’t tackle challenges because it’s easy. We do these bills and these movements because they are right,” said Lee, a co-sponsor of the bill, at the press conference. “When our environment is degraded and polluted, our children pay the price with their own health, for starters.”
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