California's plan to phase out gas-powered cars will apply to Virginia, AG says

The mandate will not take effect in Virginia until 2024

Updated: August 29, 2022 - 10:14pm

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California recently announced a rule requiring the gradual phasing out of gas-powered cars by the year 2035 and Virginia's attorney general says a 2021 state law will force Richmond to also abide by it.

When Democrats controlled both houses of the Virginia legislature, they passed a law binding the state to the automobile standards dictated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), according to The Hill. Republicans have thus far failed to repeal the law.

Virginia Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares's office confirmed to the outlet that the 2021 law was still in effect and that CARB's rule requiring the end of fossil-fueled car sales by 2035 is therefore binding to the state. The California rule will not take effect in Virginia until 2024.

Republicans control the state House and governorship but Democrats hold the Senate by a single vote. The state was traditionally a Republican bastion, but flipped blue in the 2008 presidential election and has not backed a Republican in a national election since 2004. Democrats gradually took over the state's governing apparatus and held it until now-Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin won the office in 2021.

Though the GOP maintains tenuous control of the government, both Youngkin and Miyares expressed hope that the law would not take effect.

“The Attorney General is hopeful that the General Assembly repeals this law and discontinues any trend that makes Virginia more like California,” Miyares spokesperson Victoria La Civita told The Hill.

 “I am already at work to prevent this ridiculous edict from being forced on Virginians,” said Youngkin, per the outlet.

The state will hold elections again in 2023, giving the GOP a chance to secure both chambers and repeal the law before the CARB mandate takes effect, the outlet reported.