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EVs in California

The op-ed highlighted California’s plan to prohibit the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035. It argued that while the initiative aims to mitigate public health risks, eliminating gasoline cars “would do little to reduce particulate emissions” and could even increase them.

The authors emphasized that vehicles contribute merely about 1% to California’s total direct fine particulate matter emissions, with a significant portion originating from older models, as per the Environmental Protection Agency.

Furthermore, the op-ed critiqued California’s portrayal of particulate emissions, accusing it of speaking “as if their primary source” were the tailpipe. The authors referenced the Emission Analytics study, which says that most vehicle-related particulate matter actually stems from tire wear.

The California Air Resources Board website says, "An electric car produces zero tailpipe emissions, dramatically lowering air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions even when considering electricity generation. And, even when considering emissions from the powerplant, electric vehicles are cleaner than gas cars. For instance, in California, where 45% of electricity is currently generated from fossil fuels, a gas car would need to get 134 mpg to match an electric vehicle."

“[EVs] have greater tire wear, the source of most particulate matter. California is trying to conceal that fact,” the authors wrote.

They also challenged California’s designation of EVs as “zero emission vehicles,” labeling it as “deceptive.”

“Generating the electricity that powers those cars creates particulate pollution, and of course electric cars still use tires, which are made from petroleum,” the authors explained, adding that EVs “weigh far more than gasoline-powered ones, so their tires degrade faster.”

They noted that the California Air Resources Board used a model that assumes equal tire wear between EVs and gasoline-powered vehicles in evaluating the ban’s impact. They said that, in reality, EVs are substantially heavier because “batteries store far less energy per pound than liquid fuels,” resulting in 15% to 30% greater weight.

Despite this critique, EV adoption in California is well underway — even without the ban on gasoline-powered vehicles. In 2023, 21.4% of new cars sold in California were powered by a battery, according to the California New Car Dealers Association, indicating that California's EV market share surpasses that of the rest of the country by threefold.

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About the Author

Jing Pan

Jing Pan

Investment Reporter

Jing is an investment reporter for MoneyWise. He is an avid advocate of investing for passive income. Despite the ups and downs he’s been through with the markets, Jing believes that you can generate a steadily increasing income stream by investing in high quality companies.

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