California bill seeks to ban internal combustion engines

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Updated Feb 3, 2018

The Golden State is feeling so tarnished by internal combustion engines that a bill was introduced there recently to ban them.

Assembly Bill 1745, also known as the Clean Cars 2040 Act, seeks to boost sales for zero emissions vehicles by eliminating sales of new vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2040.

The ban would not apply to commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds nor would it effect vehicles with internal combustion engines purchased before 2040.

“We’ve set very aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals and it’s very clear if we don’t do something drastic around passenger vehicles we aren’t going to meet those goals,” the bill’s sponsor, California Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, told the San Diego Union Tribune.

Governor Jerry Brown recently announced plans backed by executive orders to have 5 million EVs on the road there by 2030, a vast increase over his prior goal of 1.5 million emission-free vehicles by 2025. Brown is also aiming for 250,000 EV charging stations and 200 hydrogen stations by 2030.

Critics have denounced Assembly Bill 1745 as being premature and short-sighted given that advances in emissions reductions continue to be made for internal combustion engines.

Cummins Westport announced in 2016 that its ISL G Near Zero (NZ) NOx natural gas engine became the first mid-range engine in North America to receive emission certification from both the U.S. EPA and California Air Resources Board to meet the optional 0.02 g/bhp-hr. That certification came eight years in advance of the 2023 California Near Zero NOx schedule under California Clean Air initiatives.

San Diego-based Achates Power recently introduced a two-stroke, gas-compression light-duty engine that the company says is 30 to 50 percent more fuel efficient than diesel and gasoline engines and emits about half as much carbon dioxide compared to conventional engines.

“How do we know that in 2020 someone doesn’t invent a new catalytic converter that literally takes all the pollution out of an internal combustion engine?” Adrian Moore, vice president of policy at the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation said. “It’s just hubris to say you can set a goal in the future that deals with technology which is literally changing year after year and it’s going to be sensible policy.”

Ting feels that the bill should not come as a surprise. He said it offers “one of the most effective ways” to drastically change the vehicle shopping habits of millions of California residents.

“California has sent very strong market signals as to where we want greenhouse gas emissions to be going,” he said. “So I think people understand if they want to continue to do business in California they’re going to have to drastically reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of whatever product they’re producing or selling in California.”