Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., runs our nation’s most populous state… and he’s using his leverage to tell other states what to do.
But some governors are pushing back — and one popular Republican leader went on Fox News’ star Tucker Carlson’s show to drop a bombshell on Newsom and his supporters.
Newsom told state regulators two years ago to adopt a ban on gas-powered cars by 2035, one piece of California’s aggressive suite of policies designed to reduce pollution and fight climate change.
The move by the California Air Resources Board to have all new cars, pickup trucks and SUVs be electric or hydrogen by 2035 is likely to reshape the U.S. auto market, which gets 10% of its sales from the nation’s most populous state.
Last year, former Gov. Ralph Northam, a Virginia Democrat, signed a law binding Virginia to California’s automobile regulations — which means gas powered cars would also be banned in the Old Dominion state.
But Virginia’s current governor told Carlson he is pushing back.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, decried the efforts to “turn Virginia into California.”
Youngkin appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Tuesday to discuss this law.
“They had signed legislation and tied Virginia to decisions that are going to be made in California,” Youngkin said.
“They abdicated their responsibility to serve Virginians. So we find ourselves today with this ludicrous law, that Virginia has to follow California’s laws. So, we’re going to go to work and stop this, because Virginians should be making decisions for Virginians… This is about elected officials completely abdicating their responsibility to make the laws and regulations for Virginians based on Virginia’s elections.”
Carlson agreed. “Well, I think that’s right, and thank you for doing that. And that’s the premise of democracy. It’s self-government, which is curiously lacking at this point.”
Youngkin questioned the law not only in principle but also as a practical matter. “Virginia, last year, 2 percent of all cars sold were electric vehicles. And to say that in 2026 we’re going to have 35 percent and we’re going to phase them out totally by 2035 is just ridiculous.”
The Virginia governor promised to address the law during the legislative session in January.
“That seems like an inherently moderate and sensible idea to me,” Carlson said.
On Thursday, California ramped up its commitment to end the era of gas-powered cars, with air regulators adopting the world’s most stringent rules for transitioning to zero-emission vehicles.
Such a radical transformation in what people drive will also require at least 15 times more vehicle chargers statewide, a more robust energy grid and vehicles that people of all income levels can afford.
California, like much of the U.S., has seen electricity crises in the past. Most recently, the electric grid experienced a blackout in August 2022.
Contrary to some reports, California’s policy doesn’t ban cars that run on gas. Even after 2035, Californians may still keep their existing cars or buy used ones. Plus, 20% of sales can be plug-in hybrids that run on batteries and gas, even after 2035. Though hydrogen is a fuel option under the new regulations, cars that run on fuel cells have made up less than 1% of car sales in recent years.
Many car companies, like Kia, Ford and General Motors, are already on the path to making more electric cars available for sale, but some have warned that factors outside of their control like supply chain and materials issues make Californians’ goals challenging.
Watch Youngkin’s video here —
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article.