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New York Bans Sale of Fossil-Fuel Vehicles After 2034

And becomes the second state in the US to pass such a law after California.

New York Bans Sale of Fossil-Fuel Vehicles After 2034
Fossil fuel powered cars set to become history in New York. piranka/iStock

The state of New York has officially passed a law that bans the sale of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles after 2034. Signed by the Governor, Kathy Hochul, the law also requires all vehicles sold in the state starting 2035 to be zero-emission. This does not include medium and heavy-duty vehicles, for which the deadline is set as 2045, a press release from the Governor's office said. 

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.

"The new law and regulation marks a critical milestone in our efforts and will further advance the transition to clean electric vehicles while helping reduce emissions in communities that have been overburdened by pollution from cars and trucks for decades," Governor Hochul said. To bring together various aspects of policy and implementation needed to achieve this goal, the law has tasked the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to lead the development of a strategy by 2023. 

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Among the law's primary goals will be planning extensive charging infrastructure for vehicles, across the state and especially in the crowded metropolitan area, which will see the highest vehicle density. Ars Technica pointed towards an April 2021 report from the New York City Mayor's office that stated that the city would need 800,000 chargers by 2050 if it were to go all-electric. Another alternate solution that is suggested is repurposing streetlights to function as curbside chargers. With a 14-year deadline for implementation, there is plenty of time to design, implement, innovate, and scale up the infrastructure for these ambitious yet much-needed targets.

Apart from transportation, the state is also aiming for zero-emission electricity generation by 2040 and has a goal of generating 70 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030, the press release said. 

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