What Gavin Newsom’s victory means for the auto industry
Gavin Newsom’s resounding victory in the California gubernatorial recall election was an endorsement by voters of how he handled the COVID-19 pandemic. But there were other major policies hanging on to the outcome. Perhaps even the fate of the auto industry.
In many areas, like California, the rest of the country ends up expanding. Much of this is due to its status as the most populous state, with around 40 million people. It is also thanks to innovation. The auto industry is one such area, given that 2 million new vehicle sales occur in California each year.
A year ago, California required that from 2035 all new cars and pickup trucks sold in the state be zero emissions. But the measure is an executive order, which means if Newsom had lost the recall vote and Larry Elder had become governor, everything could have been overturned. Elder would almost certainly have lost a candidacy for re-election in 2022, so order could have been restored by the next governor, but not without more than a year of chaos when preparation time is precious.
The California Air Resources Board is leading an effort to codify the ban on the sale of gasoline cars into law through the state legislature, and California Democrats are pushing to launch the ban in 2030. For the most part , automakers have seen the writing on the wall and are making plans for their emissions-free future, but who knows what havoc an Elder administration could have caused.
As it stands, the great California movement is preserved and New York has joined in, passing a law with the same 2035 stipulation as California. That makes almost 60 million Americans, about 18% of the current population, who will no longer buy gasoline cars in 15 years. The transformation of the automotive industry will continue at a rapid pace.