More than one-third of US states may follow California and ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars. Here are the states that may be next.

More than one-third of US states may follow California and ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars. Here are the states that may be next.
  • California is expected to officially pass a rule banning the sale of new gas-powered cars and trucks by 2035 in the state.
  • Due to a legal loophole, more than one-third of US states may soon follow California's lead.

California is expected on Thursday to officially ban the sale of gas-powered cars and trucks by 2035, and due to a legal technicality, more than one-third of US states may soon follow suit.

California historically leads the way regarding emissions due to a carve-out in the US Clean Air Act, according to Ethan Elkind, director of the Climate Program at the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment at UC Berkeley Law.

It is the only state in the US that can make emissions standard mandates beyond the federal government's. But the law also allows for a loophole that permits other US states to adopt California's standards without the federal government's approval, Elkind said.

While California's governor, Gavin Newsom, announced the state's plan to phase out gas-powered cars two years ago, the state's EPA is expected to vote on the measure on Thursday, making it official.

That means other states that have opted into California's standards will officially have the ability to follow suit. So far, 17 states have signed on to follow California's plan, though Elkind says there is no requirement for them to follow through.

California's rule does not ban the sale of gas-powered cars on the used car market. "You're not going to get fined if you drive a gas car after 2035. This is only about new car sales," Elkind said.

However, he added that as more states adopt California's measures, it could be a real "tipping point" for the electric vehicle industry.

"At some point, it's going to be hard to find a gas station... But that is not going to happen overnight," Elkind said.

Here are the states that have signed on to California's vehicle standards and may be next to ban the sale of gas-powered cars.


New York

Governor Kathy Hochul has signed a bill to phase out new gas-powered cars and trucks. Once California's rule is official, New York's will also take effect. 


The state's Department of Environmental Protection says it will adopt and implement California's standard for clean cars. The state also said it would explore strategies to reduce the cost of electric vehicles.



Vermont said it would increase the sale of electric vehicles over the next decade. The state's department of environmental conservation estimates that by 2025, 5.4% of new vehicles sold in Vermont will be required to be zero-emission vehicles. 


Maine has its own climate action plan called "Maine Won't Wait." The state's governor, Janet Mills, says the state will put more than 200,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030. 



Gov. Jay Inslee recently signed a bill that requires that all cars registered to the state of Washington be electric by 2030, five years before California's plan takes full effect. 


Last month, Governor Ned Lamont signed a bill that ensures "Connecticut residents and businesses can access clean, affordable passenger vehicles, trucks, school buses, transit buses, and electric bikes," the governor said in his announcement. The state has committed to putting 125,000-150,000 EVs on the road by 2025. 



Oregon has set a goal for at least 90% of new vehicles sold annually to be zero-emission by 2035. 

New Jersey

The state said it would work to increase the number of EVs and related infrastructure on the road. New Jersey said that by 2040, 85% of new light-duty vehicles sold would be EVs. 



Maryland's "Clean Car Program" was adopted in 2007 and allows the state to adopt California's Low Emission Vehicle Program. Last month, the state's department of transportation recently released a plan for electric vehicle infrastructure funding. 


In March, Delaware's governor, John Carney, announced the state would adopt California's regulations. The state committed to reducing its carbon emissions by at least 26% by 2025.  



Governor Jared Polis said the state is taking action to achieve 100% renewable energy in Colorado by 2040. 

Rhode Island

Rhode Island's governor, Daniel McKee, recently joined 11 other state governors that sent a letter urging Biden to support phasing out gas-powered cars by 2035. 



Minnesota officially signed on to California's emissions rules in 2021. It is the first Midwestern state to do so. However, some lawmakers want Minnesota to abandon California's clean car standards. 

New Mexico

As of July 1, New Mexico's Clean Car Rule has gone into effect. The rule begins phasing out gas-powered cars, trucks, and SUVs starting in 2026. 





Virginia signed on to California's clean car standards in 2021. So far, the state has joined the effort to start curbing pollution in trucks and heavy-duty vehicles in 2030. 


Nevada has set goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 28% by 2025 and 45% by 2030. However, the state's current rulemaking does not seek to adopt California's recommendations to phase out gas-powered cars by 2035. 



Pennsylvania has not officially announced that it will join California's plan to ban selling new gas-powered vehicles by 2035. However, the state has taken steps to support electric vehicle use, including granting funding to install chargers in high-traffic areas.