California’s 2035 ban on new gas-powered cars set to apply to Virginia

Interstate 81, shown here from the northbound side in Montgomery County, just north of Exit...
Interstate 81, shown here from the northbound side in Montgomery County, just north of Exit 114, is getting an influx of state transportation funding from a deal that was among the most significant developments of the 2019 General Assembly session.(Mason Adams & Virginia Mercury)
Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 12:11 PM EDT
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California’s decision to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars beginning in 2035 will also halt the sale of such vehicles in Virginia due to a 2021 law linking the commonwealth to the western state’s vehicle emissions standards, state attorneys have concluded.

In a Thursday email obtained by the Mercury, Assistant Attorney General Michael Jagels concluded that Virginia is “bound” by the California decision because the state chose to be “statutorily and regulatorily aligned with California.”

Decoupling from California’s path would require “an amendment or repeal of the mandating legislation,” Jagels wrote.

A senior Republican confirmed separately that attorneys with the state’s legislative branch had reached the same conclusion.

The ban, which if approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wouldn’t take effect for 13 years, would not impact used car sales or prohibit anyone from driving older-model vehicles with internal combustion engines.

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NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news...
NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news organization covering state government and policy.(Virginia Mercury)