Virginia Governor Announces His State Will Stop Following California Electric Vehicle Mandate -
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Virginia Governor Announces His State Will Stop Following California Electric Vehicle Mandate

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin declared that his state will no longer adhere to California’s standards that would mandate that every new car sold in the state be electric by 2035.

In a news release issued Wednesday, the Republican governor said he made the decision due to what he described as a “misguided electric vehicle mandate imposed by unelected leaders nearly 3,000 miles away from the Commonwealth” of Virginia.

“The idea that government should tell people what kind of car they can or can’t purchase is fundamentally wrong. Virginians deserve the freedom to choose which vehicles best fit the needs of their families and businesses,” he said. “The law is clear, and I am proud to announce Virginians will no longer be forced to live under this out-of-touch policy.”

In 2021, Virginia lawmakers approved a measure to synchronize the state’s car emissions regulations with those of California. Subsequently, in 2022, the California Air Resources Board introduced a plan to phase out the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles in the state, with a complete ban slated for 2035. The gradual ban is set to start in January 2025.

In California, 35 percent of new cars will be required to be electric vehicles by 2026. Manufacturers that sell a gas-powered car that doesn’t comply with state standards could be fined up to $20,000 per car.

However, the governor’s office reported that only 9 percent of all vehicles sold in the commonwealth last year were fully electric. This suggests that “hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties” could be imposed in the near future.

“Virginia auto consumers and dealers could be forced to bear these costs. Not only would this leave auto dealers with less money to pay staff, offer raises, and grow their businesses, it could force many small auto dealers to permanently close their doors,” the news release said.

An opinion from Attorney General Jason Miyares stated that Virginia isn’t obligated to adhere to the California regulation. Instead, the commonwealth will adopt federal regulatory standards, effective January 1, 2025.

“Thankfully the law does not bind us to their regulations,” he wrote. “California does not control which cars Virginians buy and any thoughts that automobile manufacturers should face millions of dollars in civil penalties rather than allowing our citizens to choose their own vehicles is completely absurd.”

In a statement, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) signaled that it would challenge Mr. Youngkin’s decision in court, describing it as “illegal.”

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