New York to require all new car sales to be zero-emissions vehicles by 2035

The state of New York is following in California’s footsteps with a zero-emissions vehicle law that will require all new vehicles sold in the state to be zero emissions by 2035.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is implementing this rule via directive to the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The DEC will then regulate these rules into effect — the directive is similar in nature to California’s stepped approach.

By model year 2026, New York would require 35% of sales to be zero-emissions vehicles. By 2030, that figure jumps up to 68% of sales. And then finally in 2035, it switches over to 100% of vehicle sales needing to be of zero-emissions vehicles. These rules will apply to “all new sales of passenger cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs.”

Gov. Hochul’s directive also includes information regarding pollutant standards from 2026-2034 for passenger cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty vehicles with gasoline engines. It's not precisely laid out what those new emissions standards would be, but it sounds like they’ll be stricter than they are today. That said, it’s also written that the regulations allow for some flexibility with manufacturers to meet those new standards — what this flexibility entails is still undefined.

"New York is a national climate leader and an economic powerhouse, and we're using our strength to help spur innovation and implementation of zero-emission vehicles on a grand scale," Gov. Hochul said. "With sustained state and federal investments, our actions are incentivizing New Yorkers, local governments, and businesses to make the transition to electric vehicles. We're driving New York's transition to clean transportation forward, and today's announcement will benefit our climate and the health of our communities for generations to come."

It’s difficult to compare California’s law with New York’s for the time being, since all Gov. Hochul did today was announce the big points. How New York defines a “zero-emissions vehicle” for this rule is yet to be determined. As of now, the DEC includes plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) on its list of light-duty zero-emissions vehicles, and by that logic, cars with internal combustion engines would still be available for sale past 2035. However, standard hybrids are not included in this list. Outside of PHEVs, battery electric vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles are included in the list of zero-emissions vehicles.

The full proposed legislation will ultimately be posted to the DEC’s website, and once this is up, we’ll have a better idea of the exact restrictions and what we can expect to be allowable for sale in the state of New York come 2035.

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