All new vehicles purchased in New York will need to be zero-emission models beginning in 2035, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced on Thursday.
“We’re really putting our foot down on the accelerator and revving up our efforts to make sure we have this transition — not someday in the future, but on a specific date, a specific year — by the year 2035,” Hochul said at a press conference in White Plains, N.Y.
After careening into the Chester-Maple Parking Lot in a white Chevy Bolt, Hochul announced a series of new electric vehicle (EV) initiatives for the state, beginning with the zero-emission requirement for 2035. To reach this target, she said that 35 percent of new cars will need to be zero-emission by 2026 and 68 percent by 2030.
All new school buses purchased will have to be zero-emission by 2027, with the entire fleet meeting these standards by 2035, according to the governor.
“We actually have benchmarks to achieve, to show we’re on the path to get there,” Hochul said, stressing that the changes would not occur suddenly.
New York is following in the footsteps of California in mandating zero-emissions vehicles by the year 2035.
“We had to wait for California to take a step because there’s some federal requirements that California had to go first — that’s the only time we’re letting them go first,” the governor said.
Hochul was referring to California’s vote last month to ban the sale of gas-powered cars beginning in 2035. GOP leaders nationwide have already begun launching legal battles in an attempt to derail the decision.
Any state-led move to enforce stricter emissions rules must occur first in California, per federal regulations. When Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1970, it authorized California to set its own emissions standards due to smog conditions at the time.
But because the Clean Air Act includes a provision prohibiting states from implementing their own standards, California first must apply for a waiver with the Environmental Protection Agency. Only then can other states follow suit.
“That’s all right,” Hochul said at Thursday’s press conference. “Once they made that decision, we are able to step up immediately and say now there’s nothing holding us back.”
Hochul directed the State Department of Environmental Conservation to implement the regulatory action necessary to require that all new passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs sold in New York State be zero-emission by 2035.
The Department of Environmental Conservation will be expediting its regulatory process to implement related legislation signed by Hochul last year, which will allow the state to realize these goals, according to the governor’s office.
In addition to advancing this plan, the governor announced on Thursday a $10 million investment in the state’s Drive Clean Rebate program, which she said could “help New Yorkers purchase and drive these vehicles.”
An up to $2,000 rebate, she said, is available in all 62 counties. The state has already issued more than 78,000 rebates and spent more than $90 million on the programs, according to the governor.
Hochul also announced that the New York Power Authority just completed the installation of its 100th high-speed EV charger, as part of the state’s EVolve NY statewide charging network. Any battery-powered EV can charge at these stations in as little as 20 minutes, she explained.
With the expansion of widely available charging infrastructure, Hochul said she believes that sales of EVs will increase, noting that they have already risen 30 percent over sales in 2021.
New York state will receive a $175 million chunk of the bipartisan infrastructure law’s $5 billion allocation for EV charging networks, according to the governor.
“So that’s going to help over 14 interstates in New York, especially ones used by the people in this community,” Hochul said.
“So you’re going to see that you have no more excuses,” she added.
Updated at 12:51 p.m.