Banning gas cars? It’s a ‘fringe crazy bill’ no longer

Banning gas cars? It’s a ‘fringe crazy bill’ no longer

Article about Matthew Metz and his drive to ban gas cars

"Last month in Olympia WA, ten legislators introduced a bill to ban the sale or registration of any new gas-powered passenger or light-duty trucks, starting in 2030. The measure would exempt emergency response vehicles and anything weighing more than 10,000 pounds, such as farm equipment. People could also keep driving and reselling gas-engine cars that are already in use as of 2030."

Seattle Times article:

WA State bill HB 2515 - 2019-20:

bjrosen | 05/02/2020

It will never happen. This is America not China or the EU. We aren't an authoritarian country like China and we don't have the pathological need to regulate the minutiae of every day life like the EU (their latest silliness is to mandate USB-C on all phones). We believe in free markets here and the freedom of choice. It also won't make any difference. Unless battery tech hits a brick wall, and it sure doesn't look like it will, you will be able to buy a 500 mile EV for $25K in 2030, the 500 mile Cybertruck is only a year away and it achieves that range in a monster truck for only $70K. The Cybertruck is about 1/3rd less efficient than the Model 3 which means that they should be able to deliver 500 mile Model 3 sized car for not much more than the current 310 mile version. Nine more years of battery progress and that price drops down to the economy car price range. By 2030 EVs will be cheaper than equivalent ICE cars, the catalytic converters cost about as much as the motors in am EV, once the battery gets down to the cost of an ICE + transmission you've reached the cross over point in cost, by 2030 we should be well past that point. When faced with the choice of a 500 mile EV, and plenty of charging infrastructure, or an ICE car for the same money which would you pick. The performance of EVs is vastly better than ICE cars, everybody who owns an EV already knows that, they have more cargo and interior space than an ICE car in the same footprint, they are cheaper to run, they are more reliable. The only thing that holds them back is range and price both of which will be things of the past in 10 years. The market will get rid of ICE cars without any coercion from governments, when was the last time you bought a CRT?

Mike83 | 05/02/2020

The Climate Crisis is getting worse. Some drastic changes are imperative. | 05/02/2020

@bjrosen - I think such a law makes a lot of sense, but rather than a ban, a 100% tax would be a better solution. It doesn't outlaw new ICE but makes it very undesirable. Taxes collected can go to help pay for all the extra medical costs that all the ICE pollution causes and remediation to damage to the environment. I do agree with you that market forces will also make much of this happen anyway in the next 10 years.

Hope California and other states follow suit. We know the federal government has been totally bought off by the oil and legacy car industries and will do worse than nothing.

Effopec | 05/02/2020

@Teslatap - agreed, but don't call it a tax. Refer to it as a climate change & health care cost abatement fee, or something similar. Basically it will be a charge to spew pollutants into the air. You pay for the sewage from your house to be treated, why should we be able to treat the air as our own personal garbage can? | 05/02/2020

@Effopec - I like it :)

jb1120 | 05/02/2020

"We aren't an authoritarian country like China . . . "

Current occupant in White House: "Hold my beer."

IHaveArrived | 05/02/2020

@bjrosen, inspiring speech, but how do you square that with the ban on Tesla storefronts in some states?

Effopec | 05/02/2020

@jb1120 - Exactly

coselectric | 05/02/2020

America's contribution to solving global warming is not going to come from well-intentioned legislation. Our political system is optimized for convincing the masses to vote against their own self interest, sorry (thanks Supreme Court and your Citizens United decision! Assholes...). You might get some legislation like this to pass in a few hippie states or locales, but there are simply too many economic forces broadly opposing such legislation for it to become mainstream in the U.S.

Our only hope is companies like Tesla who figure out how to make products that are both better for the environment and better than the competing solutions, and for jobs at those companies to be sexier and more lucrative than jobs in the climate-destroying industries so that our great intellectual resources lean toward the companies solving the problems.

bjrosen | 05/02/2020

IHaveArrived@ Dealer laws are an example of another phenomena, legislatures can be bought and once bought they stay bought. When an interest group manages to sneak in legislation to protect themselves it stays on the books nearly forever because the public has less interest in repealing the legislation then the group that benefits has in maintaining it. Taxi medallions are another example, restricting the market hurts consumers a little but benefits the tiny group of medallion owners a lot, as a result the system stayed in place for a century. It wasn't until another better funded organization, specifically Uber, came a long that the medallion system broke down. Dealer laws have also been in effect for a century. Because they effect all auto companies the same none of them had any interest in changing the laws. Tesla, which defines itself as a disruptor, is challenging those laws and they've succeeded in getting them off the books in a lot of states. But it's only happening because Tesla has decided that they can make more money by selling directly then the could by setting up a dealer network.

IHaveArrived | 05/02/2020

@bjrosen Yeah, I understand how it works, I was just wondering how you square that phenomenon with "We believe in free markets here and the freedom of choice." -- because I find that statement to be not true, states can and do restrict free markets and freedom of choice all the time.

Big_Ed | 05/02/2020

Someone always has a crisis they think justifies imposing drastic measures to control others.

jimglas | 05/02/2020

Stop subsidizing fossil fuels and ICE vehicles will disappear

bjrosen | 05/02/2020

On balance we regulate far less than the EU, regulation isn't an objective in itself. Special interests manipulating the system is a separate thing, the purpose of those regulations are never for the common good they are political responses to the needs of constituency groups, some times they are dressed up to look like there is some public interest in doing it but those are always just fig leaves. Ethanol requirements are an example, the original justification was that they would somehow help with energy independence but they were never repealed when it turned out that it takes more energy to make a gallon of ethanol then you get from a gallon of ethanol. They stay in place because of the Iowa caucus's, ethanol puts money in the pockets of farmers even if it drives up the cost of food and is bad for the environment.

andy | 05/02/2020

The UK has just brought forward the ban on sales of anything other than new pure electrics and hydrogen cars by 5 years.

Sometimes Governments do things in response to global change and to ensure their economy is aligned in time. There’s been a lot of comment, as you’d expect, but one commentator I heard was saying that this is not just about emissions, but it also makes the UK an attractive place to invest for new technology as there’s a guarantee of a local market. The car industry has been important to the economy for many years, change is inevitable and countries want to attract the development and production of the next generation of tech.

To balance - the motor industry has responded saying that the timescale is too tight.

bruryan | 06/02/2020

It may be something you would like to see. I'd like to not follow an older ICE car a little out of spec. Or for that matter a chipped lifted roaring Diesel. But what I want and what will happen are two very different things.
There will be an evolutionary switch to EVs. A mandated one will fail, it just will, it would be like outlawing religion. That is a lousy analogy but I think it equals the difficulty in replacing something that is so ingrained. Heck, there are still people who use horses for transport.

As for the emergency of CO2, it is nothing that can't be engineered out of the system. For that matter studies have indicated planting trees can make a huge impact.

bruryan | 06/02/2020

bjrosen, good point, all the pious people in the world are living in a monastery outside of Tibet. Everyone else has got an infection that resembles self-interests. When you can get the government free of the weaknesses of humans you might get somewhere. It is just stupid to imagen the welfare of the world is the primary goal of politicians.

FISHEV | 06/02/2020

"It will never happen."

In CA, OR and WA it could happen but GOP in Federal government would and are attacking the state's right to clean environment.

Since this is a political question with all that baggage, might be best to move this to General as nothing about Model 3.

bjrosen | 06/02/2020

If a government truly want's to accelerate the adoption of EVs then the right way to do it is not by mandates but to remove the roadblocks to EV acceptance, specifically charging infrastructure. Reduce the cost of installing fast chargers by centralizing the permit and approval process in a single state agency, who''s mandate is to say yes, instead of multiple town, city and county offices that are slow and deliberately put impediments in the way of installing chargers. Look at the Tesla Supercharger map at the planned locations that are marked waiting for approval, notice how many of those locations that were marked as planned for 2019 are now marked as planned for 2020. The states could help out with site identification, offer public land and encourage private businesses to offer space through tax breaks. There needs to be a solution for cities where people live in apartments and don't have their own parking spaces that can be wired with an EVSE. Making it simple for charging companies to install on street level 2 EVSEs and for supermarkets to install medium speed DC chargers would address that problem. Reducing redtape is something that's cheap to do and can have a big impact.

FISHEV | 06/02/2020

"If a government truly want's to accelerate the adoption of EVs then the right way to do it is not by mandates.."

Pretty much only way to do it as EU and China have demonstrated. Bottomline is the bottomline. EV's are much more expensive to own and operate (see the Tesla service centers filled to the max with "never needs service" EV's) by $10-20k vs. similar gasoline cars. We can't wait for the economics to catch up so government has to require it.

bruryan | 06/02/2020

fishev, do you think the EU will be successful in their hopes? Fill in the particulars and let you and I make a wager.

FISHEV | 06/02/2020

? do you think the EU will be successful in their hopes."

Don't see why not, China and EU are pushing hard. In EU, even the right wing parties are being forced to get in the climate science bandwagon so, unlike US, EU doesn't have major political opposition to EV's such as US GOP.

If CA, WA, OR and the other CARB states can keep moving forward, they will likely follow EU/China lead on requiring no emissions cars by 2050. So 15% of US population on West coast could get there also.

bjrosen | 06/02/2020

Fish, why do you own a Model 3 since you seem to be so unhappy? You don't have access to home or work charging which makes owning an EV impractical for you. I've owned a Volt for almost four years and a Model 3 for six months and I've been nothing but happy with my EV experience. I've had a couple of repairs on the Volt but neither of them had anything to do with it's EVness, I had to replace a door handle because the button became wonky and I had to replace the shift lever (under warranty because it's a known design defect) because a switch in it had become unreliable. With my ICE cars on a couple of them I'd had a head gasket problem at about the Volt's age, nothing that serious has happened to the Volt. The Tesla hasn't given me any trouble yet but I wouldn't have expected any at this point. I have two home EVSEs, a ClipperCreek for the Volt and a Tesla Wall Charger for the Tesla, my life is simpler because of them. You don't have that luxury. Until you fix your housing situation or your work gets chargers you have no business owning an EV, you would be much happier with a hybrid. Why make yourself miserable, unless you enjoy being miserable.

gballant4570 | 06/02/2020

DDT was found to be very dangerous, and was banned in the US and indeed many parts of the world. Same is true for a variety of refrigerants. Federally, weed is still banned.

So the the idea that the US does not "ban" things is simply dead wrong.

I like this kind of law. It may turn out that by 2030 the market will drive this anyway, but a few state laws will help I'm all for more of them.

gballant4570 | 06/02/2020

bjrosen, there are many interests that influence our Federal government. Many of these interests are in direct opposition to any laws that might help EV adoption in this country in any way. The same is true at the state level, but states have an easier time getting things accomplished anyway - or at least some of them do. When enough states do something, a tipping point can be reached so that commercial interests have no choice but to comply across the board due to economics, so I see high value in this kind of state law.

jimglas | 06/02/2020

stop subsidizing fossil fuels
And the transition will happen very soon

gballant4570 | 06/02/2020

jimglas, quite true. Some of the interests I was referring to....

FISHEV | 06/02/2020

"why do you own a Model 3"

Best EV available May 2019.

"You don't have access to home or work charging which makes owning an EV impractical for you."

Works well for me.

But this topic is about government forcing EV adoption (more correctly zero emissions vehicle adoption) as "market forces" will not do the job needed.

Twochewy | 06/02/2020

There are over a Billion ICE cars in operation worldwide. That's right, it's a huge number of vehicles. A local approach just won't work.

What we need is the next jump in battery energy density. You know...EV's don't come without environmental impact either. Batteries use rare earth metals. Soon we'll dredge the deep sea floor for nodules in the Clarian Clipperton Zone. That will impact the Pacific Ocean. Likely the only way to get enough rare metal for 500 million EV vehicles.

So, technology first - then ICE will go away.

cmh95628 | 06/02/2020

Catherine Wood, ARK Invest CEO said she thinks BEVs will reach purchase cost parity with ICEs in 18 to 24 months (IIRC) in a webcast I saw linked here a few days ago. I think that is more like 2-3 years out myself (but don't do the kind of research she does). I think we are already at cost parity if you consider TCO over 10 years (which is how long I tend to keep my cars).

Twochewy | 06/02/2020

I think it will take longer depending on expected range for cost parity. But, I worry about the massive amount of mining required to get enough rare metal to make a serious dent in worldwide ICE sales.

FISHEV | 06/02/2020

"But, I worry about the massive amount of mining required to get enough rare metal to make a serious dent in worldwide ICE sales."

I haven't seen that calc ever carried out by EV advocates. Is there enough metal for 1.5 billion EV batteries to replace current ICE vehicles.

yudansha™ | 06/02/2020

Prohibition 2.0?

-TheJohn- | 06/02/2020

Yeah clearly folks are going to be brewing up bathtub gasoline cars in their homes.
My god you're dense.

dchammers | 06/02/2020

I would start with banning drive thrus, like tomorrow.

andy | 06/02/2020

Governments, when they approach things in a structured way, have employees who use scenario planning to work out a range of possibilities and responses and those scenarios. These are used fo aid policy making.

We are bogged down here discussing detail of what we can see as tangible evidence now. If you take a step back then a wide combination of factors make a move away from ICE near inevitable. The question then becomes about the role of Government and what preparation should be made and encouraged. You can sit by and leave it completely to the market or you can try and intervene.

History says that established businesses struggle to respond to disruptive innovations. Scale this across multiple businesses in a country and global competition then counties risk unemployment and loss of investment if they can’t create a business climate for the future. There are plenty of examples on both sides of the pond.

How Governments respond is down to them and those to whom they are accountable. Debates about this quickly get to the heart of the unsolvable question and remind me why I would not want to be in politics or policy formation. You’d get criticised for trying to do what you think is needed, which would invariably create winners and losers, and you’d get criticised for the result of what happens if you don’t.