New York Bans Sale of Fossil Fuel Vehicles From 2034 Onward

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

The state of New York this week passed a law that bans the sale of fossil fuel powered vehicles after 2034. This deadline applies to all new passenger vehicles, making New York the second state to move forward with such a plan, following California’s lead.

Last September, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order directing the California Air Resources Board to develop regulations to mandate zero emissions for all new passenger cars and trucks by 2035.

My first impression is that the time frame for implementing New York’s legislation looks lax – especially given the gravity of the climate change crisis – although I appreciate that infrastructure must be built to accommodate electric vehicles, and that existing fossil fuel vehicles cannot be replaced overnight.

Interesting Engineering is more impressed with New York’s action:

The law is a major step up compared to President Biden’s executive order last month that aimed for 50 percent of all vehicle sales to be electric by 2030. It is also going quite ambitious given only one percent of all vehicle sales in New York are currently electric, Ars Technica reported. Nevertheless, the setting of a deadline, even more than a decade away, should set into motion the process to fully electrify transportation.

Interestingly, the law does not just limit itself to light-duty or passenger vehicles but also includes heavy-duty vehicles, whose development is still in nascent stages. By setting a 2045 deadline, the state is moving towards its ambitious goal of reducing 85 percent of overall emissions by 2050. New York plans to use California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Rule as a template to provide truck manufacturers an annual sales target for zero-emission vehicles. Last year, California became the first state in the U.S. to ban the sale of fossil-fuel cars by 2035, and New York seems to be following the example.

A press release from newly-installed New York State Governor Kathy Hochul’s office provides further details about the New York plan:

Under the new law, new off-road vehicles and equipment sold in New York are targeted to be zero-emissions by 2035, and new medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045. The law also requires the development of a zero-emissions vehicle development strategy by 2023, which will be led by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to expedite the implementation of the State policies and programs necessary to achieve the law’s new goals.


Using California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Rule as a template, the proposed regulation would require truck manufacturers to transition to clean, electric zero-emission vehicles. Truck manufacturers would be required to meet a certain annual sales percentage of zero-emission trucks, which will vary among vehicle weight classes, beginning with model year 2025. By the 2035 model year, at least 55 percent of all new Class 2b-3 pickup trucks and vans, 75 percent of all new Class 4-8 trucks, and 40 percent of all new Class 7-8 tractors sold in New York State will be zero-emission. The proposed regulation provides medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturers with several compliance options and would require a one-time reporting from applicable truck fleets.

Charging Infrastructure

Making a smooth transition away from fossil fuel powered vehicles is dependent on developing necessary infrastructure for charging such vehicles – both at their home bases and when on the road. Ars Technica highlighted some key considerations:

Convincing the public to buy EVs requires more than just incentives, of course. For many people, charging remains a hurdle in either a physical or psychological sense (or both). The state will have to roll out a significant fast-charging network to facilitate long-distance travel, and it will have to encourage cities to install slower, level-2 charging infrastructure to allow renters and condo dwellers to charge. Such a network would include the usual places, like grocery stores and shopping malls, but also streets and parking garages.

Curbside charging would be especially important in New York City, where on-street parking is the rule rather than the exception. By 2050, the city predictsit will need 800,000 level-2 chargers and 60,000 fast chargers. And given that the Big Apple is home to over 40 percent of the state’s population, solving that problem is likely on the top of state agencies’ lists.

New York City has already begun experimenting with curbside charging, installing 120 chargers that EV owners can pay to use by the hour. The initial installations were sited based on projected demand, community input, and geographic diversity. Business owners can request that a charger be installed in front of their building, too. Parking spaces in front of the EV service equipment are reserved for actively charging vehicles. Cars not charging can be ticketed.

Another solution would be to piggyback EV chargers on streetlight poles. Los Angeles has already installed over 430 of them scattered throughout the city, and London has converted over 1,300 lampposts to add EV charging. Kansas City is trialing the setup, too, with plans to install 30–60 by the end of the year.

States in Driver’s Seat

States have been primary drivers in pressing the federal government to enact laws and regulations for phasing out fossil fuel powered vehicles, beginning under the Trump administration and continuing now that Biden is president. Per Hochul’s press release:

In 2020, New York, 14 additional states, and the District of Columbia agreed through a Memorandum of Understanding to develop an action plan to accelerate the electrification of buses and trucks, including to consider adoption of the California regulation. Participating states committed to work together to accelerate the market for zero emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, including delivery trucks, box trucks, and buses. The collective goal is to ensure that 100 percent of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales be zero emission vehicles by 2050, with an interim target of 30 percent zero-emission vehicle sales in these categories of vehicles by 2030.

In April 2021, New York and 11 other states asked President Biden to put the U.S. on a path to ensure all vehicles sold in the country are zero-emissions. The letter asks the federal government to set standards to ensure that all new passenger cars and light duty trucks are zero-emission by 2035, and that medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles are zero-emissions by 2045. The states also encouraged the Biden Administration to advance new electric vehicle tax credits, enhanced existing electric vehicle tax credits, funding for investment in charging, and fueling infrastructure and other reforms.

In addition to California, Washington state has considered a ban on fossil fuel powered cars – thus far to no avail. Per Ars Technica:

Washington state attempted to pass a law earlier this year with a sunset date of 2030. The law made it through the legislature but was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who was concerned that the sunset date was tied to the implementation of a road-usage charge. The zero-emissions vehicle mandate, he said, was too important to be tied to other initiatives.

The Bottom Line

I understand that the advantages of electric vehicles have been overhyped. A far more sustainable policy would be to build a better public transportation system. But that’s not the road California and New York have chosen.

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  1. voteforno6

    It will be interesting to see if this encourages more development of electric vehicles. Winters in New York can be a little chilly, and battery efficiency goes way down in cold weather. If they can find some way to overcome that, it should make it easier to move away from fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

    1. Solarjay

      Lithium batteries are almost as efficient at -40 as 90 degrees. There are a few issues that effect range during cold weather. The battery has to provide heat and defrost which takes a fair amount of energy.
      Also all lithium batteries won’t charge below 32f so they have heaters built in to warm them. Yes the heaters take energy.

      1. drsteve0

        Indeed on cold weather charging of lithium cells. My well house is about 150 cubic feet (insulated) and a 75 watt bulb (incandescent – do not attempt with LED’s or fluorescents) keeps it toasty warm even on those rare occasions S. GA dips into the teens. Just finished building a mini control room (400 cubic feet or so) on the ground floor of our barndominium (thanks NC for that wonderfully descriptive word though spell check does’t like it) that houses my inverters, load centers and eight 150 kWh LiFe PO4 (51.2 V) batteries. Two 75 watt bulbs should keep it warm, or better yet one of those tiny space heaters, they have a thermostat. I have an 8 kw system so a few hundred watts to keep it warm overnight is relatively speaking not much of a draw. My batteries don’t seem to have any little sweaters or built in HVAC.

    2. Grumpy Engineer

      It’s not just battery efficiency in the cold. Another major aspect is cabin heating. It’s not uncommon for electric vehicles to come with 5 kW cabin heaters. In extreme cold, these will run almost continuously. Your 250-mile range could easily by cut by a quarter during a severe cold snap.

      It’s even worse if you get stuck in a snowstorm. Suppose your electric vehicle (with a 70 kWh battery) starts the day with a half-charge. You drive 40 miles to work. During the day a blizzard hits, and it’ll now take you 4 hours to get home. Will you make it? Nope. Nominally, a half-full battery can go 125 miles, making the prospect of an 80-mile round-trip commute reasonable. Throw in heater duty, though, and your car will crap out 14 miles from home.

      1. George Phillies

        There is a known solution. It is a horse and buggy solution, but it works. The solution is called “Long Coats” and “lap blankets”.

        Neither of these help with auto air conditioning. Better insulation and smaller windows might be good.

        1. drsteve0

          Yep, if it came to that disconnect the cabin heat and wear a down jacket. I’m so old when I was a whippersnapper few vehicles had AC.

      2. arte

        Although heat pumps are quite standard in EVs sold in colder climes. The thermal energy you get out is somewhere around triple the electric energy you put in, which helps the range noticeably compared to just having a “standard” cabin heater.

        1. Grumpy Engineer

          Yes. The heat pumps offered in newer EVs are a nice offering, though they add considerable cost and complexity to the vehicle.

          Unfortunately, they suffer the same weakness as the heat pump found in the back of your house: The colder the air, the less efficient the heat pump becomes. If it gets cold enough, the EV will have to switch over to a resistive heater, just like your household heat pump will switch over to “emergency” heat (which is typically a 15 kW resistive heater).

    3. Edward

      In a city, electric street cars could be a solution. Ultimately, though, electric vehicles, though more efficient then internal combustion, are only as green as their energy source. The problem still remains of developing clean energy.

  2. cnchal

    > Making a smooth transition away from fossil-fuel powered vehicles is dependent on developing necessary infrastructure for charging such vehicles . . .

    Making a smooth transition away from fossil-fuel powered vehicles is dependent on mining exotic metals in the most polluting way possible in the most vulnerable areas, transporting all that raw material in the most polluting way possible to China where it gets processed into usable metals in the most polluting way possible.

    Like destroying the planet to save insanity.

    1. Mikel

      And the transition isn’t only about carbon reduction. But Software As Slavery and the planned obsolescence of updates and subscriptions. Then an added heavy dose of additional surveillance and instrusive marketing/ads.

      They could already have this half-baked, idiotic attempt at reducing environmental degredation on the road if there wasn’t this bizarre wish that all cars be “self-driving” or “smart”.

      1. cnchal

        I don’t think software as slavery is an apt description. I do think subscription software instead of being able to own it is a nasty way of doing business, so I don’t.

        All that digital crapola takes lots and lots and lots of power sucking data centers to store and mine the digital gold from the digital shitpile. And, its getting bigger, moar and moar chips is the cry. Moar and moar data, moar and moar data centers, and cause they use so much power, they get it dirt cheap, subsidized by retail customers instead of being charged triple retail to discourage their use.

        Lets go, electric cars. What have we here? A 600 HP electric Ford pickup, 6000 lbs of road hugging weight, if one ever catches fire it could incinerate a city block. So far no AI guided option but hype springs eternaly.

        I guess it needs that much power just to get out of it’s own way.

        Moar, moar, moar, power is needed, in a never ending quest for moar. As long as it’s powered by power, it is good to go.

    2. endeavor

      EV’s will achieve the fossil savings by forcing most people into public transportation. The infrastructure will never be built for anywhere near the personal automotive usage now.

      1. T_Reg

        That would be a good result. But I still think a high carbon tax at the source, with revenues distributed equally to all, would more effectively help achieve that result in many many areas of the economy.

  3. Mell Pell

    The EU is moving aggressively to adopt anti-pollution regulations that will effectively outlaw internal combustion engine vehicles not by 2030 … but by 2025! This is a new anti-pollution law set to take effect in 2025:

    The law is currently in comity but it will likely be adopted in Q4 of 2021 which is next month.

    There is a good write up about this here:
    The new anti-pollution law will in addition to effectively outlawing ICE cars will institute a total surveillance system for roadways. This will make it impossible to travel anonymously.

    We had an article on here the other day about a new fire law that was put together to hastily leading to the collapse of housing prices in Britain. Fire laws are good but too much fire law is … bad? What about anti-pollution laws?

    I like saving the planet but I’m not so hot on living in a police state to do it.

    1. BillS

      I just had to eliminate my old diesel car as it was Euro 4 because the city where I live (Brussels) will not allow cars with lower than Euro 5 emissions designation to enter the city after 31 Dec. There is already in place a camera based surveillance system that signals violations and issues fines. Police state is already here. Furthermore, where do you think all these old cars are going? They will be exported to Africa and Russia, etc., where fossil fuels will continue to be used for who knows how long. This is another case of exporting pollution and Belgium is the center of trade in old cars from Europe to Africa.

      1. Whatdoiknow

        I think the VW golf diesel was the best car ever made.
        On tank of 10gallons it could drive more than 1000miles.
        US decided to kill it probably because US car manufacturers couldn’t compete with the Germans on diesel technology. I wonder if one did the carbon footprint calculations if it would not be the greenest car still today.

        1. Zamfir

          I looked at for reported fuel .

          I selected Golf diesels from 2015 or layer, less than 150 hp. Average reported mileage was 5.5 liter/100 km, which would be 14 kg of CO2.

          For a Prius, that gets me 11 kg (a bit better mileage, and a bit less CO2 per liter)

          The VW id3 (basically the electric successor to the Golf) does 19 kWh/100 km in that same website. At 0.5 kg/kWh for the grid, that’s somewhat below a Prius again.

          And keep in mind, diesels are far worse on other emissions, it’s only on CO2 that they are vaguely competitive with gasoline or electricity.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          They only look good in comparison to US cars. In my experience French cars are significantly more efficient in real world driving, mostly I think because their diesel engines are better and the cars are lighter and simpler. Its very hard to beat a Citreon for fuel efficiency in real world driving. Hyundai’s are pretty good too, especially the coupes.

          I quite like the golf diesel because in my line of work I do a lot of rural driving and the mid range torque is good, but otherwise the standard engine is much smoother. I don’t own a car, but I hire very regularly so I get to compare quite a few brands and types. In my experience, gasoline engines when driven carefully (especially when manual) can match diesels for efficiency, and are much less polluting (CO2 emissions exempted).

        3. Jeff

          Or it could be that vw lied about emissions, made dieselgate a word and got fined billions. C’mon, let’s stick to facts.

    2. Zamfir

      The proposal is not that the vehicle sends out information, but that real-world emissions data can be read out during roadworthiness tests. The goal is to improve real-world emissions, not just emissions during artificial test cycles.

      Keep in mind, this is the period before adoption, when political pressure can still change the actual implementation. The car manufacturers send out their propaganda waves with scare stories, and the car press joins in. The same happended with earlier iterations of the standard.

      1. Mell Pell

        This is simply not the case. The plan is to continuously collect telemetry data from your car. The data will be use to, for instance, turn off the internal combustion engine in your car if you go into a geo-fenced area. Like if Paris was to institute a no combustion zone. This data will be “anonymized” somehow. That part is never explained. I don’t think it is possible to successfully anonymize the movements of cars. If a car is found to be in non-compliance with the regulations the police will show up and ask for your license. More over it would be easy for anybody to ID me just by looking at the places I go, like for instance, my brother in laws house or the place that I work.

        1. Zamfir

          Thats bit how I read the initiative, but the wording is vague.

          Technically, I don’t think you need any telemetry to achieve the stated goals.

          The first goal is to monitor real world emissions. For that, it is enough to store measured emissions (without location), and read it out at a later time. Its even enough to just report averages, as long as the averaging happens reliably (no VW software tricks).

          The other goal, geofencing, also does not require telemetry, as long as the car has an up-to-date database of fenced locations. That part of the initiative seems premature to me. My guess is that it will disappear in the worked-out proposal, which should drop somewhere in the next month’s.

          I don’t know how much will survive if the first goal. The industry clearly hates it. That is self-incriminating, in my view. The industey can meet very strict emission standards, as long as you don’t try to measure them reliably.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          You have no privacy on any public highway, anywhere, and you never have had in legal history. Thats why its called the ‘public’ highway. You are constantly subject to monitoring, whether through traffic cameras, visual checks or speed monitors. Your phone data can be used to check your behaviour in the event of an accident.

          The necessity for ‘live’ monitoring is because the car industry has repeatedly lied about emissions. Nobody with half a brain trusts them, so you either abandon monitoring, or you use technology to gather real world data.

          To make this out to be some sort of authoritarian government intrusion is nonsense.

          1. R

            In fairness, one never had legal privacy on a public highway (although a passenger might well have done – draw the blinds) but one had practical anonymity. Who can afford to watch all the cars go by…?

            Technology changed that balance and we have accepted the tilt. Some token pushback has occurred. Street view images of people are blurred despite your assertion about privacy. But private CCTV is allowed to record highway users.

            If you were offered a magic solution for more privacy / anonymity on the highway, would you turn it down? Because it always has been is a poor reason.

          2. T_Reg

            That’s NOT why it’s called a public highway. It’s called a public highway because it doesn’t belong to a corporation or an individual, it’s (hypothetically) owned by the public at large.

            Live monitoring would be totally unnecessary if carbon consumption had a stiff economic penalty, through a tax at the source.

  4. MK

    All electric will never happen with current technology. The real way forward is hydrogen and at some point in the next 10 years that will become clear to all.

    1. Fred

      The issue is recharging/refueling. When it’s as convenient as gasoline then you will see some real adoption. But, it’s the chicken and egg deal, which comes first?

    2. George

      I agree with MK and so does Toyota (Mirai). Electric is a pass through phase to fuel cell/ hydrogen technology. After all, it’s what powers our sun.

    3. Zamfir

      Efficiency is a problem, I don’t see much progress on that front. It’s not small difference, you need several times more generated electricity to drive the same distance if you use hydrogen as storage instead of a battery. Perhaps one day we have so much renewable electricity that we can afford that loss, but that is far away…

    4. T_Reg

      Absolutely not. Hydrogen is a delaying tactic by the fossil fuel companies, to allow them to continue harvesting hydrocarbons from deeper and deeper deposits. Take a close look at so-called “blue hydrogen”.

  5. FreeMarketApologist

    I live in NY State and have a car that I regularly use to get between NYC and rural upstate. Here are my concerns:

    Parking garages (where most people park) in NYC do not have sufficient electrical wiring installed throughout the garage to handle charging a large percentage of the cars in the garage at any one time. Most garages currently have 0-3 spaces where you can charge up. The cost to retrofit electric service in buildings is very expensive, a cost that will show up in end-users charging fees, significantly adding to vehicle ownership costs. While manufacturers seem to have settled on the SAE J1772 connector, Tesla hasn’t, so garages will have to provide at least two different charging systems. Also, staff will need to be trained in how to use and monitor the chargers, as customers typically aren’t allowed into the depths of the garage spaces. Garage owners will have to work out billing schemes for customers, most of whom will want/need charging while they’re there.

    In upstate NY, I park in a detached garage, which has minimal electric service (basic lighting). The cost to run new power service to the garage that can handle a 240v charger will be $3-5000.

    It’s a fair argument to say that these are costs of owning a vehicle, and moves some public costs onto the end-user, but providing the infrastructure and servicing for a mostly electric future is going to be very expensive, both for businesses and individuals.

    Also, I’ll nitpick on the Ars Technica quote “And given that the Big Apple is home to over 40 percent of the state’s population..“: it conveniently omits to note that that the majority of NYC residents do not own cars. (Manhattan is typically less than 20%, higher as you get farther out into the burbs —

    1. Carolinian

      Perhaps by 2034 we’ll be doing all our shopping and working online and the giant practicality problems will be less of an issue. Government mandates have given us many useful things (and also more expensive cars) by requiring anti-pollution and mileage features. But as Jerri-Lynn says above, the whole ideal of private vehicles may need a rethink as AGW worsens.

      1. Daniel LaRusso

        I think that is the truth like I was told whne buying my new car. That they don’t envisage electric cars to be as plentiful as current vehicles. I’d love to get rid of my car if I was guaranteed to work from home and grocery deliveries. I’m happy to cycel to friends, but I can’t see it happening.

    2. Zamfir

      Thousands of dollars is a lot in one go, but eventually the cost is amortized over many years and many miles. Say, 10 years at 10,000 miles/year, and it adds up to several ct/mile. Public chargers around here charge roughly 10ct/kWh more than electricity costs at home, that comes down to a similar cost per mile.

      That’s a small but not negligible part of the cost of a driving a car, or of alternatives like public transport.

      Of course, there is more to the cost of electric cars. It just means that the charging infrastructure is not in itself a deal breaker.

      1. Daniel LaRusso

        the problem I see with charging a car is convenience. I can fill my car with petrol and it takes 10 minutes and I’,m driving again. Electric charging takes way longer and I’m yet to see what we’re going to do for people in high rised flats.

        Before someone says there will be some charging points where residents park that they can book using their phone and get a text when finished etc. In the real world we have a huge nuisance youth problem who will love the idea of kicking trailing cables out of cars for fun, I know I would. Not to mention they aren’t allowed over pavements if it interferes with anyones right of way. And what do I do about someone who won’t move their car from the point on time. Imagine it’s raining, he’s settled down for the night – are you expecting someone to knock on his door and risk a confrontation? I accept those are problems for Rhondda valley, not Silicon valley.

  6. upstater

    I simply cannot see how, in only 13 years, there will be sufficient charging infrastructure and the electrical grid to support a ban on sale of fossil fueled automobiles. In my own case, we have a detached garage with a single 110V 15 A circuit. To accommodate an EV charger we would need to add a subpanel in the house and dig a trench for 220V 30A and install 2 chargers; it would cost several thousand dollars. I personally can afford to do this, but many cannot. Then we have many apartment complexes in our area that this law supposes the REITs that own them are going to install one charger for every 2 or 4 parking spots. Going into the city of Syracuse, housing stock is very old, much owned by slumlords, there are 3 colleges with 25,000 students and a LOT of on street parking. The city, having a poverty rate of nearly 40%, can’t seem to afford to adequately plow streets, maintain the water system or even fill potholes. In downtown, streets and sidewalks would have to be torn out and replaced to install the cables needed to supply the chargers. Yet there is an assumption that on street chargers will sprout like mushrooms in this rustbelt town.

    This law is a great example of fellgoodism that is kicking the climate can down the road into the next decade. It assumes the state, cities, towns and utilities have unlimited funds to pay for the transition. As cnchal says, this is insanity to maintain the car culture.

    1. chuck roast

      This kind of virtue signaling is becoming so endemic that the general populace will soon giddy with enthusiasm for a glorious environmentally harmonious future. If these laws were accompanied by tax shifts favoring autos to subsidies for intra and inter city transit then I would consider them meaningful. They would also be impossible since the happy motoring public will revolt at the prospect of crappy roads and nice buses and and trains. Look for the head-spinning to continue and the tides to rise.

    2. Mike Elwin

      All these costs in a country where the income inequality is constantly expanding and the rich pay fewer and fewer taxes? I don’t think so!

      1. Poorly Paid Minion

        Just think about how great its going to be for the Top 10%ers, to get around, when all of the wretched refuse are off the highways, and on to mass transit, bicycles, or hoofing it. In Phoenix in the summer. Or Minneapolis in winter.

        The cheerleaders had better hope this Global Warming turns around after all this stuff is implemented. There is going to be some really pizzed off people if we trash the economy, and it gets hotter anyway.

        OTOH, that may be the plan. Put 3/4 of the worlds population in tents under bridges, and greenhouse emissions will definitely go down.

        I havent seen anything in the last 40 years that tells me that TPTB will “manage” this transition in any way other than being a giant cluster***k

  7. BeliTsari

    I’d been waiting for my UWS neighbors, to realize where their Volvos come from, and stomp-down any COVID caused rank & file walk-out strikes? I’m REALLY curious to see curbside charging, in NYC!

  8. .human

    The US has legislated fuel conservation laws for vehicles since the ’70’s, all of which came to naught. I am not optimistic here.

    1. Carolinian

      came to naught

      Not true. Lots of heavy SUVs now get better gas mileage than my parents’ 1964 1800 lb Volkswagen and they even have heaters that work.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      When you say the fuel conservation laws for vehicles came to naught, is it that the number of cars grew so much that we have more net-pollution anyway, because of vastly more cars each one polluting somewhat less apiece?

      Is that the logic behind your comment?

  9. CostcoPizza

    Didn’t NY also recently close their nuclear plant, now relying more on coal to fill the gap?

    Electric cars aren’t green if the electricity ain’t. I also think they distract from mass transit.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Exactly. If the electricity to power all these cars comes from fossil fuel burning power plants, then really what has been solved ? You aren’t going to power a fleet of hundreds of millions of vehicles in the US with solar panels.

      We had a nice electrically powered public transportation system over 100 years ago in the US. Capitalism made sure that got torn apart.

      1. drsteve0

        As a child (and I’m old but not over 100) riding along the streets of Atlanta with my mother at the helm of our land barge, I distinctly remember being fascinated by the showers of sparks the spring loaded doohickeys (that contacted with the overhead grid) on top of the electric busses would throw off. It was specifically the auto industry (esp. Ford and GM) in cahoots with the oil giants that had all that sensible infrastructure ripped out.

    2. Louis Fyne

      unless NYS power generation changes markedly in 15 years, the juice will be from a plurality of natgas, followed by Canadian hydro and wind.

      check out “NYISO operations” for the current fuel mix

  10. Grumpy Engineer

    This isn’t going to work. Approximately 1.3 new vehicles are sold in California and New York each year. If these are full-electric vehicles with 70 kWh batteries, they’ll consume 91 GWh of battery per year. Currently worldwide production of batteries is about 500 GWh per year, which might triple to 1500 GWh per year by 2035. Two states with 0.7% of the world’s population, laying claim to 6% of worldwide production?

    If other states follow California and New York’s “noble example”, we’ll need 80% of worldwide production. And essentially none of the lithium will be mined or refined here in the US, which means that once again we’ll be exporting our environmental impacts.

    And this is only for light passenger vehicles. We haven’t even started on buses and large trucks, would would easily multiply our need for batteries by a factor of 1.5. Now we’ll need 120% of worldwide production. Whoops. Oh, and hey… Aren’t we supposed to be deploying large-scale batteries stations to provide backup for wind and solar power during windless nights or other periods of unfavorable weather? I’m not sure where those are supposed to come from.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Two states with 0.7% of the world’s population, laying claim to 6% of worldwide production?

      But that’s how the US rolls. The rest of the world ought to be content with donkeys.

    2. George Phillies

      Your numbers also indicate what electrical power demand will be. 91 GWh/ year at 8 hours at home to charge is about 12 Gw (divide by how often; at a guess once a week) is 2GW of new power production needed every year for a lot of years just for these two states.

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        Aye. That’s an excellent point. And one full charge once per week sounds about right. A typical US car is driven 13500 miles per year, which works out to 37 miles per day. If an electric car can do 250 miles on a full charge, it’ll need a re-charge once every 6.75 days. And people in New York will need to do it even more often, given the extra battery load of the cabin heater.

    3. Mike Elwin

      To say nothing about the fragility of the supply chain for lithium and other rare elements, or the steadily increasing need for the elements in the major regions of the world that are developing rapidly. Or the steadily decrease in governments’ ability to make anything happen, let alone something as monumental as this.

    4. Zachary Smith

      This isn’t going to work.

      Right. You and many others spoke of the problems with this badly thought out scheme. If the lawmakers of New York are like those most everywhere else, they’re a bunch of clueless lawyers passing a feel-good PR law. One will be gradually modified into nothingness.

      I understand that the advantages of electric vehicles have been overhyped. A far more sustainable policy would be to build a better public transportation system. But that’s not the road California and New York have chosen.

      The author is spot-on with these closing remarks.

    5. Louis Fyne

      if I was dictator, I’d make Amazon
      (and UPS/Fedex and the MTA) use 100% electric vehicles before aiming at passenger cars. Better bang for each lithium gram.

      simple logic, average passenger car geta used 10-12,000 miles a year.

      That is nothing compared mileage put on by commercial vehicles

  11. Rod

    Everything is insurmountable, until it isn’t:

    Now that the basic engineering has been done, Pon plans on offering a conversion service that will replace the diesel engine in a conventional piece of equipment with the batteries, software and controls from the 323F for customers who need zero emissions capability but don’t want to discard machinery that is still satisfactory for more years of service.

    Imo-The above sets a good precedent for the transitioning.
    Bringing the charging capabilities to support it offers opportunities for Public Funding and Jobs.
    Decentralized Energy harvesting will become part of the solution.

  12. Jack

    So if I read this right, sales of fossil fueled vehicles in NY state will be banned. So what is to stop people from buying a vehicle out of state? Think of the loss of sales tax, registration and title fees, etc. I know that states usually have a 30 day rule requiring one to register your vehicle in your state of residence, but the enforcement of that is already lax. What happens when people avoid purchasing in NY state a thousand fold? As one commenter opined this is feel good legislation. I can see it getting pushed forward, and forward, and forward.

    1. TimH

      You read it wrong.

      “The state of New York this week passed a law that bans the sale of fossil fuel powered vehicles after 2034”

      not equals

      “directing the California Air Resources Board to develop regulations to mandate zero emissions for all new passenger cars and trucks by 2035”

      Firstly, used cars aren’t covered.
      Secondly, it ain’t law yet.

  13. YankeeFrank

    I am loathe to question “the consensus” but outside of defined systems science is horrible at predicting the future and the global climate is not a defined system. I know we’ve all been inundated with details of the obvious catastrophe about to consume us but the heart of the scientific method is skepticism and I see very little of that from most scientists these days. One very big reason is the consequences for one’s career of taking a contrarian stand, or even asking serious and important questions that would help generate more sound responses to environmental problems, as the experience of Michael Shellenberger shows (see link below). Another reason is an all too human reaction to the lies, manipulation and greed of the fossil fuel industry. We must resist the tendency to let our opponent define our behavior. Temperament matters.

    It seems as if the more scientific research encounters boundaries of complexity and what is at least currently knowable (techno-utopianism encourages us to the delusional ideas that everything is knowable and robots will shortly be our masters) the more a misplaced and cultish faith intrudes.

    I am NOT saying we don’t face serious environmental problems. What I am saying is that we need to seriously consider what the problems really are, how much we can really know and whether the solutions proposed will work or may make problems worse. There is far too much certainty.

    Are we really ready to turn science into finance, where as long as everyone fails together no one can be blamed? Unfortunately I think the answer is yes.

    1. Aumua

      Michael Shellenberger

      In June 2020, Shellenberger published Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, in which the author argues that climate change is not the existential threat it is portrayed to be in popular media and activism. Rather, he posits that technological innovation and capital accumulation, if allowed to continue and grow, will remedy environmental issues.


      1. drsteve0

        So the guy was still that delusional just a little over a year ago? Yeah right, if only we’d fully freed the all knowing invisible hand of the market (my BIL is an MBA – Uhhgg) from those awful regulations, all would be well already. And as far as scientists being horrible at predictions (per yankeefrank) I don’t know, Exxon’s scientists did a pretty good job of predicting exactly where we are, going on half a century ago. Of course that research was $h!tcanned.

  14. chris

    There’s a lot that would have to change to make this work. The safety upgrades and grounding requirements for light poles to handle that kind of use aren’t cheap. People are regularly shocked and electrocuted due to contact with ungrounded city light poles.

    I can’t see a place like NYC where people can’t leave their locked bikes outside without having them stolen be the location where expensive charging cords will stay safely connected to people’s vehicles overnight if parked on the street.

    I also can’t imagine that making power like that readily available won’t create other issues. Like, maybe street carts for crypto miners to hook up and work overnight? And what happens when the batteries for these vehicles are damaged and need to vent heat and maybe fire? That could be a problem in the vicinity of trash containers near the street. New York is already the location of some spectacular manhole and vault fires/explosions due to lack of maintenance. Adding this other layer of infrastructure on top of things is not going to help that problem any. All this is before we figure out how to actually build all these vehicles…I have a feeling there will be a lot of dealerships lining up on the border to sell ICE vehicles if this plan actually goes through.

    This article strikes me like one more example of the people writing these things having no idea how the world actually works. They don’t understand anything about the built environment we’ve created or how it functions. So they have a cartoonish understanding of what can be done to fix it.

    If there is any hope for cities like NYC surely it’s with increased public transportation and not doubling down on private vehicle use. If we can’t make this work in NYC then there’s no hope for the rest of the country.

    1. BeliTsari

      Pretty much every Sunday, I’m dodging a crappy BigLots extension cord to a Tesla, right before NYPD’s 20th Pct top sekrit UNDERCOVER Fords, parked sideways. Since none of the officers smoking outside are over 5′-10″, they’ve never noticed any of this; any more than the scores-of-thousands of e-biles, scooters & monocycles, cutting in and out of folks, dodging the stoops, disgarded electronics or Texas barriers, blocking the street? I’m assuming, this will just make MTA, PATH & NJT all FAR worse as our betters get GINORMOUS Maybach EVs they call autonomously, from their phone… SILENTLY, like the unlit DoorDash bikes?

  15. Brooklin Bridge

    It’s the sort of thing that looks good on paper but leaves some doubts given the ambient corruption levels.

    As far as Newsom goes, this might be what’s floating around in his head:

    I, the great, the one, the only Governor Gavin Newsom hereby degree that once I’m out of office all poverty and illness will cease to exist, and that goes for pollution too, particularly cars and things like that. Those who follow in my footsteps will have the privilege, the honor, of implementing my commands. So there! They tried to recall the greatness that is me but the public was too smart to be fooled. Oh yes, I almost forgot, healthcare will be free for one and all and that ought’a fix the wagon of my detractors. Ha, and a pox on them.

  16. MonkeyBusiness

    Since the economy will have already collapsed by then (I am guessing), most people will probably try to extend the life span of their cars through repairs, etc.

    1. Dwight

      Imagine the supply chains to build maintain and power EVs. Unlikely to be sustainable, and highly polluting in the attempt.

  17. Louis Fyne

    IMO, better to push hybrids as bridge transport.

    1 Tesla 3 has ~80kWh of juice. 1 Toyota hybrid (40+ mpg) has ~1 – ~2kWh of battery capacity.

    What is better for society writ large….one Tesla or using the same lithium to put 40 hybrids on the road?

    i argue the math says the latter

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      Oh, yes. I very much agree. There simply isn’t enough battery to go around to electrify every road vehicle on the planet. We’d get a lot more bang for our finite lithium bucks if we targeted plug-in hybrids that could make short (less than 20 mile) trips on battery power but then kicked over to a small engine when the battery ran too low on longer trips.

      And that engine could be really small. Most people don’t realize it, but a 10HP engine/generator set would be adequate to keep most plug-in hybrid vehicles rolling down the interstate indefinitely. Our cars normally have much larger engines because we want to be able to accelerate quickly and go up steep hills without slowing down, but if the battery can provide the extra juice for those short-duration tasks, then the engine itself can be small.

      1. Zachary Smith

        A relative’s small and old hybrid car has fairly weak batteries, but it still takes off like a bat out of hell when I need the acceleration.

        Also, that little internal combustion engine could be run on synthetic gasoline. Besides the extra versatility, its heat output would warm the vehicle’s interior in cold weather.

        Stored synfuel could also run small household generators at times when electricity from the grid was too costly (widespread dead calm for wind turbines, night/heavy overcast for photovoltaics) or simply unavailable.

        Farm equipment is currently pretty darned good. Adding a large and massively expensive battery wouldn’t be necessary if they stuck to their present engines.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          And because it has the engine to recharge the battery it doesn’t need a super-exotic battery made with super-exotic materials.

    2. BeliTsari

      Like we’d discussed here, years back, with WrightSpeed’s CNG microturbine range extended commercial vehicles: retro fit garbage trucks and school busses, back ~2016? Tiny diesel range-extenders running on algae “bio-diesel” followed (heck, all RR diesels have basically been diesel, for a century) but, there has to be an incentive: motors, storage & infrastructure. GeelyVolvo & Daimler are doing this with yard & OTR tractors & BMW, VW or Hyundai have with cars.

  18. a fax machine

    The better question: can NY State build an alternative to cars within that time? For this to work, by 2034 you would need to be able to reliably take a train from any part of NY State to either Chicago, Toronto or New York City. Amtrak as it stands won’t cut it, and Cuomo dragged his feet on the Empire HSR project that would go between Buffalo and NYC. Additionally, there absolutely *absolutely* needs to be necessary through connections between parts of the Northeast Corridor: new Hudson Tunnels, NYP to GCT, a cross-harbor freight tunnel and a Staten Is. subway. The state would also have to charter at least 1 new nuclear reactor to power it all.

    This is a herculean effort, that requires the full power of the state working with industry to fulfill – the local railroads aren’t going to play along if they got the Supreme Court on their side, which means some amount of P3 gold toilets will have to be doled out.

    It also requires the state to get serious about it’s freight policies, because this transition will not happen if it’s cheaper to put food on a truck in Kentucky (or some other non-emissions state) and drive it straight into an NY grocery store vs requiring it to be transloaded onto an electric train and then delivered by a local electric drayage truck. This is precisely where larger issues like Just-In-Time delivery and Precision Railroad Scheduling become problems the state must contend with directly. It’s also where our dependence on Chinese imports become a problem, as does our exports of plastic waste and garbage which NY has a large surplus of. Anyone looking at the movement of goods within NYS would notice how unsustainable the dependence on imports really is. This must be front and center of the debate as NYS grows it’s old manufacturing industries -and thus demand for improved rail services- back.

    Everything must change in order to do this. If it is cheaper to import oil from the Saudi Peninsula to Schenectady the transition will never happen.

    1. Yves Smith

      There was a mandate in the early 1990s that a certain (not high) percentage of car sales by IIRC 1997 had to be electric vehicles. Mandate IIRC was for CA, I dimly recall NE states joined. I drove an EV prototype around them. Was rescinded because clearly could not be attained.

  19. Alex Cox

    Volunteer firefighter helmet on…

    A couple of years back we had a Tesla crash in Hilt, CA. Driver asleep, car mistook the exit ramp for a lane and hit the crash barrier.

    The driver survived, but the car’s batteries burned. It took two fire trucks and a water tendert to put the fire out. It was impossible to tow the Tesla for fear the batteries might reignite, so one fire truck remained with it for several hours.

    These are diesel powered fire engines.

    Now, scale this one incident up to the state of CA or NY.

  20. Felix_47

    I wonder why both states don’t immediately institute a 40 mph speed limit, and enforce it and add a significant fuel tax. Both are easy to do and cheap.

    1. a fax machine

      California could probably pull off a 55 speed limit on most urban freeways, but there is no way to enforce it other than hiring a lot of cops and instigating lots of police shootings. Cars with built-in speed limiters (all of them do*) set at 55 would make everyone angry and lead to illegal modding in the same way it’s possible to get a dirty smog to avoid the existing smog laws. Such a speed limiter is even harder to enforce on hybrids because it’d be all within the ECM, whereas an old-style cap/rotor could be built to mechanically shut off at 55 mph.

      CA already has a 55 limit for semis and it’s mostly enforced through post-accident insurance audits rather than tickets. Even then, almost every non-CA truck in CA is not smog passing and does not have a CA Clean Idle (5 min idle limit) limiter either. On that point, CA bans idling and APUs yet all trucks plated outside of CA have them and use them within CA.

      There’s a practical angle to all this that matters, IMO the only way anything changes is if freeways are tolled because that is the only thing both sides are willing to respect.

      *most passenger cars shut off spark plug ignition around 130, most CUVs around 120, and most pickups around 90. Many semi trucks will automatically retard the engine at 70, and I think all buses will do so at 68. Note that I’m only talking about post-2010 vehicles all of which use direct ignition or have CA legal diesels/diesel emissions ECMs.

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      Oh, wow. What a fascinating website. My only annoyance is that you can only go back a single day when reviewing data. It’d be interesting to see what affect the Indian Point shutdown had on the NYS power generation mix. But that was several months ago.

      1. Louis Fyne

        not familiar with NYISO in-depth, but other jurisdictions provide historical data—publicly for free.

        and if NYISO is like other jurisdictions, somewhere in the website is the 2020 annual report (or multi-year forecast report) which likely will explain their preparations for Indian Point/2021-beyond.

  21. ChrisPacific

    …setting a goal for all new passenger cars and trucks sold in New York State to be zero-emissions by 2035.

    The gaps in this are wide enough to, er, drive a truck through.

    First, this looks to apply only to new vehicles. It does not mean all fossil fuel powered vehicles off the road by 2035. I don’t know what the average lifecycle of a gasoline or diesel vehicle is in New York, but it needs to be factored into the equation. If electric vehicles continue to be limited by price, supply constraints, grid and power supply issues, etc. then we can expect the average lifespan of the old gasoline/diesel vehicles to increase as people drive them longer, particularly in lower income brackets.

    Second, what about used imports, either from other states without similar legislation or other countries? Will fossil fuel powered cars made after 2035 be legal to sell in New York as used vehicles? It’s easy to imagine a thriving market in lightly-used imports springing up in order to circumvent the law. The regulations on market percentages are expressed purely in percentage terms. From the press release, if you sold one zero emission new vehicle in New York and 999,999 new fossil fuel vehicles in, say, New Jersey or Connecticut, you’d be 100% compliant with the law as written.

    Third, isn’t 2030 the drop-dead date for significant action on climate change according to the UN? How will laws that don’t take effect until 2035 (and will have only incremental effects from that point) do anything to address the crisis?

    This all looks like legislative theatre to preserve the status quo to me. I see nothing about reductions in total number of small passenger vehicles, or increased investment in public transport, or societal or urban planning implications from any of that. It’s a plausibility argument for avoiding real change.

  22. Asgard Trondheim

    So basically these bans are just noise, at least the California one for which I can provide some details. Sales of used vehicles are not banned. In fact, the ban is structured in such a way that it supports the mass importation of used vehicles from nearby states. The practical implication is the reduction in the number of fossil fuel vehicles being driven will be minor.

  23. Roquentin

    This also doesn’t factor in that it is doubtful the current electrical grid could handle the increase in electricity consumption. I remember a lot of talk encouraging people not to run the AC during peak heat in the summer, because the grid was stretched to the max and brownouts could happen. There’s also the subject of the amount of carbon generated by additional coal fire power plants, unless NY decides they want to get behind nuclear power again. I’m no engineer, but the sense I tend to get is that nuclear power is just about the only way for the math on electric power getting us out of climate change, but this option tends to be pretty unpopular with a lot of environmentalists.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Nuclear power is pretty popular with retired NASA atmospheric scientist James Hansen, though. Halfway through his book Storms Of My Grandchildren is a 2-page long discussion of a kind of experimental reactor being worked on and then suddenly and belligerently shut down. He says it is the kind of reactor we should revive and redevelop and use to be able to retire all the coal plants, and then oil and natgas plants after that.

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        Hansen isn’t the only pro-nuclear environmentalist out there. Heck, there whole groups that support nuclear:

        Alas, nuclear remains pretty unpopular among politicians. Democrats mostly oppose it, and Republicans are disinclined to support it because electricity produced with fracked methane is cheaper. And this is a shame, because nuclear is hard to beat as a low-carbon way to keep heat pumps running through a windless winter night.

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