Two Democrat governors rule out California-style ban on gas vehicle sales in their own states

"I'm not thinking about doing that," said Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf when asked if he thinks a ban on the sale of gas vehicles by 2035 would be beneficial in his state.

Updated: September 15, 2022 - 2:50pm

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Two Democratic governors are saying no to a ban on the sale of gasoline vehicles in their states by 2035 similar to the one in California under Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

"I'm proud of, you know, the work in California and Governor Newsom, but New Mexico has now a lot more flexibility to figure out ways for us; this is a state that can really benefit from the incentives and the tax breaks," said New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham after attending a celebration at the White House for the enactment of the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act.

"I think that that's going to be enough to really spur investments in electric vehicles," she added, referring to the electric vehicle tax benefits in the legislation that President Biden signed last month. "So we're going to start there, and I'm really excited about being able to do that and offer that to consumers."

Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who also attended the White House event, was asked for his assessment of California's ban and if he is considering something similar for his state.

"I'm not thinking about doing that," Wolf replied. "I'm not sure, the economics of that, I think, would be that as electric vehicles become more ubiquitous, and we do a better job of creating the charging stations, that more and more people are going to move to non-fossil-fuel burning vehicles."

Some vehicle manufacturers, like Kia, have expressed frustration with provisions in the law that would disqualify many EVs on the market today from eligibility for the $7,500 federal tax credit. Under the bill, an EV has to be assembled in North America and meet other requirements to qualify.

Lujan Grisham was asked if those new requirements are going to limit choice for consumers in the market for a new vehicle, given that vehicles assembled outside the U.S. won't be eligible for the tax benefit.

"I think it would innovate them to actually do more here," Grisham said, referring to automakers. "Currently, there are so many electric vehicles on the market, including now trucks for doing ag work, which is a big issue in New Mexico. I think people have plenty of choices. What I need for them is to be able to make the purchases and have those incentives readily available. This legislation does that."

Wolf also weighed in on the rule specifying that only EVs assembled in the U.S. are eligible for the tax benefit.

"As somebody who actually did manufacturing in North America in my business career, I think we know how to manufacture stuff in the United States," he said. "We do a really good job, and I think American-made products are going to make a real comeback just because they're that good."