Car Enthusiasts Unenthusiastic About Any Government Ban on Gas-Powered Vehicles

John Krafcik, the CEO of Waymo, stands with the Jaguar I-Pace self-driving electric vehicle on March 27, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

WASHINGTON – While some car companies pledge to make more electric vehicles in the future, that doesn’t mean the public is necessarily on board with a government ban on the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles by a certain date.

Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill have proposed a bill that would prohibit dealerships from selling gasoline vehicles by 2035.

States legislators in California have proposed a bill that would enact a similar ban by 2040. Countries like Britain have enacted a ban on the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2040. The Indian government has set a goal for companies to sell only electric vehicles by 2030.

Most of the Washington Auto Show attendees who spoke with PJM said the government should not set a date to ban the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.

“No, because you need a wide range of options and that’s trying to predict what the price of fuel will be. And so it may be, read an article one time that when it’s all said and done, the gasoline engine may be the most cost-effective way of moving cars,” Darrell from Washington, D.C., said.

“Everybody can’t afford an electric car,” said a man who chose to remain anonymous.

Josue from Winchester, Va., said the U.S. government does not need to go as far as banning combustion engines. He said the decision should be left up to the auto companies.

In October 2017, General Motors (GM) announced a commitment to an “all-electric” future, which includes 18 fully electric vehicle models by 2023.

Jaguar Land Rover announced that there would be an electric version of every model vehicle they sell starting in 2020. Land Rover had hybrid models on display at the Washington Auto Show. Attendees were able to test-drive certain Land Rover models on a 100,000-square-foot course with “off-road terrain” alongside a “fully-qualified instructor” at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

“My opinion is no, not at the moment. Obviously, we’re getting scarce with fossil fuels, but there are various companies that are still in that hybrid state. They are not moving into purely electric motors,” Josue said.

O.T. Wells from Washington said it’s a “tough” issue but he thinks a future ban might make sense.

“I think if we leave it to the automakers, it won’t happen in my lifetime. So I do think there are times when governments should step in. The planet needs to be saved,” he said. “If we’re going to save the planet, someone has to take the stand and make things happen.”

Nickell from Maryland said automakers should be able to decide when to stop selling gasoline or diesel vehicles in the United States.

“I do think it should definitely be up to the actual car company to decide whether they are going to go electric or not. I don’t know how much it costs, but if it’s very costly is the government contributing to that extra cost? So I don’t think it’s fair,” she said.

Victor from Virginia told PJM that market forces and consumer demand should influence when automakers move away from gasoline or diesel engines rather than a government ban.

“I think it should be up to the buyer as well because a lot of people like motors. I’ve liked cars since I was little guy so I like engines, real engines, so I think Honda and people like that, Toyota, they are making cars more fuel efficient and cleaner and cleaner, but I don’t think you should say, ‘oh, no more combustions engines anymore.’ That’s what I think. I think it’s too radical,” he said.

David Martin of Maryland endorsed some sort of government ban on gasoline and diesel engines by 2040.

“I think it’s a good idea. I think if we let them decide they’re never going to stop manufacturing 19 mile-per-gallon cars and all that, so I think it’s good,” he said. “I think they also should fix dealerships like Tesla that’s having problems because they can’t sell their own cars themselves in a lot of states. They have to do it through a middle-man.”