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British Columbia Law Could Ban Gas Car Sales by 2040

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Zero-emission vehicles like the Hyundai Nexo could get a major boost from a new British Columbia law
Photo: Hyundai

With a new law passed at the end of May, British Columbia has taken a bold step toward phasing out sales of fuel-burning vehicles.

The Zero-Emission Vehicles Act (ZEVA) directs that, by 2025, 10 percent of all vehicles sold in the province must be rated as zero emission. These types of vehicles include plug-in hybrids, EVs, and hydrogen fuel-cell cars. In the first quarter of 2019, 6 percent of vehicles sold in British Columbia met this criteria.

Even more significantly, the ZEVA also enacts a ban on sales of fuel-burning vehicles within the province by 2040. This makes it North America’s most forceful law targeting climate-harming vehicle emissions.

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In the U.S., California and the city of Los Angeles have considered gas car bans of their own, but these actions are still pending.

While ZEVA is aggressive compared to anything else enacted on the continent, it’s nowhere near as stringent as many laws in Europe. There, many countries provide zero-emission vehicle purchase incentives, strictly limit gas-powered vehicles, and are en route to full bans.

ZEVA also contains some significant loopholes. The biggest one: car buyers who want a gas vehicle can just buy one in Alberta, the province to the east.

ZEVA also offers car manufacturers offsetting credits they can purchase if their sales and production of zero-emission vehicles lags behind the laws requirements. And the law allows for adjusting zero-emission sales requirements and the timing of the gas-vehicle ban if they turn out not to be achievable.

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News Sources: The Verge, CBC