It seems that the “Republic of California”, the world’s fifth largest economy, is going to carry the banner of climate change for the United States of America. (Note: 150 years ago, California had a brief independence after separating from Mexico. After joining the United States, the official flag also retained the title of “Republic of California”.)
Sina Technology Zheng Jun from Silicon Valley, USA
Completely ban the sale of fuel vehicles
The smog caused by the wildfire has not yet subsided, and California Governor Newsom can’t wait to announce his grand plan. He wants to lead the largest state of the US economy (California accounts for 15% of US GDP) to accelerate the pace of curbing climate change and global warming, thoroughly embrace new energy vehicles, and bid farewell to traditional internal combustion vehicles.
Last Wednesday, Newson stood in front of a row of electric vehicles and announced that he had signed an executive order: By 2035, all new car sales in California must be zero-emissions (including cars and pickups); by 2045, new heavy vehicles sold in California will be sold. There must also be zero emissions; by 2024, California will no longer issue hydraulic fracturing permits for oil and gas extraction.
Newsom ordered California regulators to formulate a plan to encourage automakers to gradually increase the sales of zero-emission vehicles such as electric or hydrogen, until all internal combustion vehicles are banned by 2035; instruct the transportation department to find alternatives to encourage people to choose public transportation and other modes of travel , To reduce the demand for travel by car; call on the legislature to find solutions to resolve the impact of the withdrawal of the oil and gas industry on the California economy and employment.
It needs to be emphasized that Newsom only announced that the sale of new internal combustion vehicles in California will be banned in 2035. Fuel vehicles already owned by the public can still be driven on the road without affecting second-hand sales. California’s annual sales of new cars are about 1.9 million. The California government has previously planned that the number of zero-emission vehicles will reach 7.5 million by 2030, and currently there are only 700,000.
This is not the first time California has carried the banner of environmental protection in the United States. Newsom has just taken over the baton of N former predecessors. In the past few decades, regardless of whether the Republican Party or the Democratic Party is in power, the California government has always regarded environmental protection as its basic policy. Governor Schwarzenegger, who is most familiar to Chinese readers, is also keen to promote new energy sources such as solar and hydrogen energy. However, Newsom explained that he does not have the power to ban oil and gas companies that are currently exploiting oil and gas in California, which requires the approval of the federal government and the California Assembly.
70 years of pollution control in California
Why is California so keen on environmental protection and emission reduction? Because of the pollution problem. Although the impression of California is always the blue sea and blue sky, it actually has the most serious air pollution problem in the United States. According to data from the American Lung Association (ALA), the cities Fresno and Bakersfield in the Central Valley of California are the most polluted areas in the United States. The term Smog, which we are familiar with, originated in Los Angeles. The local media combined the two words Smoke and Fog into one.
Due to dense population, numerous cars, dense industries, and surrounded by mountains on three sides, Los Angeles was once suffering from severe air pollution. In the 1950s, Los Angeles erupted in the most serious air pollution in American history, the photochemical smog incident, and hundreds of people died as a result. This incident was a turning point in the control of air pollution in the United States, prompting the California government to strictly control industrial pollution and exhaust emissions.
As the most populous state in the United States, California’s car ownership is also higher than that of the United States. Currently, the total number of cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles exceeds more than 30 million. According to data from the California Air Resources Board, automobile exhaust accounts for more than 30% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions. With the adjustment of the industrial structure in the past few decades, heavy industry and manufacturing have gradually moved out of California, and automobile exhaust has become the primary goal of the California government to control air pollution.
As a country on wheels, the United States cannot take measures to restrict purchases or traffic. The California government’s main emission reduction measures are to raise oil standards, improve engine efficiency, and reduce exhaust emissions. Before 2017, California’s gasoline contained only one third of the US federal standard (after 2017, the US national standard was upgraded to 10ppm). In addition, the California government continued to increase fuel taxes, which directly resulted in California gasoline prices becoming the native 48 states. The most expensive.
Take the oil price calculated on the AAA website, for example, the current average oil price of the US Regular Standard (counted as No. 87 in the US, equivalent to No. 92 gasoline in China) is US$2.189 per gallon (one gallon equals 3.875 liters), and US$2.265 in East Coast New York , Southern Texas is $1.864, while California’s oil price is $3.216, which is nearly half the average US oil price, second only to Hawaii, which is expensive because of freight. According to the current exchange rate of RMB to USD, California oil prices are roughly equivalent to RMB 5.796 per liter.
Multiple means to help sales
On the one hand, this kind of high gas price has caused complaints among California residents. On the other hand, it has also prompted them to be more willing to accept new energy vehicles to reduce travel costs. Moreover, the California government provides many tax rebates and subsidies for new energy vehicles. According to current standards, the tax refund for hybrid vehicles is 1,000 US dollars, for pure electric vehicles is 2,000 US dollars, and for hydrogen fuel vehicles is 4,500 US dollars. In addition, the California government also provides special treatment (with time limit) for new energy vehicles to enter the fast lane Carpool during peak hours to avoid traffic jams.
California’s new energy infrastructure is also the most complete in the United States. (As of the second quarter of this year) there are 24,400 charging parking spaces and 43 hydrogen refueling stations, most of which are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles area and San Diego. These three metropolitan areas are the most densely populated and also the most affluent areas in California. Therefore, intensive construction of charging networks in these three areas can guarantee the needs of most electric car owners in California.
Driven by these measures, California’s new energy vehicle sales have long occupied half of the United States. According to industry analysis agency Veloz, the total sales of new energy vehicles in California in 2019 was 156,100, accounting for 47% of the total US sales (331,600). However, sales of new energy vehicles in California fell by 12.4% year-on-year last year, and this year the sales of Model 3 began to increase again.
It is no exaggeration to say that it was California that supported Tesla. For a long time, California sales accounted for about 60% of Tesla’s total US sales. In those years when Tesla was financially difficult, California’s emissions trading system (ZEV Credits) brought Musk valuable revenue. California law stipulates that if automakers sell more than 60,000 vehicles in California, they must sell enough zero-emission vehicles to earn zero-emission points. Manufacturers that cannot complete the zero-emission vehicle points indicator can only buy from those with rich points, while electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla can sell points to get revenue.
Why are both Honda and Toyota keen to launch hydrogen energy vehicles in California? Because for every hydrogen vehicle sold, you can get the highest 9 points in California’s zero-emission points (the points are not only related to battery life, but also related to charging speed, so the zero-emission points for hydrogen-fueled vehicles are completed in a few minutes. It is twice that of conventional electric vehicles). These important points can bring real benefits to Japanese car companies with huge sales of conventional models, saving them a lot of money for purchasing additional emission points.
It is not easy to accomplish the goal
Although California has introduced so many measures to boost sales of new energy vehicles and drive the continuous growth of sales of new energy vehicles in California, the current proportion of new energy vehicles in California has not exceeded 10% of new car sales, and the ambitious goal set by the California government is still huge. difference. When the California government introduced the zero-emission points mechanism in 1994, it planned that zero-emission vehicles would account for one-seventh of new vehicles sold in 2025.
However, according to Veloz’s forecast, zero-emission vehicles accounted for only 8.26% of new car sales in 2019, even lower than 8.91% in 2018. To achieve the set target for 2025 means that California’s zero-emission vehicles will increase by 73% in the next five years. To achieve the goal of completely zero-emissions in new car sales by 2035, means that the sales of zero-emission vehicles will increase more than tenfold in the next 15 years.
At the beginning of this year, the California government also revised the development plan for zero-emission vehicles, and plans to increase the number of new energy vehicles from the original 5 million to 7.5 million in 2030. However, as of the beginning of this year, the total number of zero-emission vehicles in California is only 700,000, which means that the number of zero-emission vehicles in California will increase more than tenfold in the next ten years.
To promote such a huge increase in new energy vehicles, what other measures can the California government introduce? The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an association that represents the interests of traditional auto companies, stated in an email statement to Sina Technology that mandatory policies alone cannot create market demand. The California government needs to take more measures to encourage car companies and boost the demand for zero-emission vehicles. It needs to build infrastructure, introduce stimulus measures, modify laws and regulations and many other measures.
Bill Wyland, the founder of the non-profit environmental protection organization Wyland Foundation, told Sina Technology that Newson’s clean energy initiative is an important step in the right direction. California has established a global leader to resolve the climate crisis. example. But Newsom has not yet announced what measures it will introduce. Compared with issuing orders and announcing plans, how to implement specific measures is more important.
Tesla benefits most
The California government plans to increase sales of zero-emission vehicles tenfold, which is obviously of great significance to Tesla, the electric car giant born in California. California is Tesla’s largest market, and Tesla sold nearly 50,000 units in California in the second quarter of this year. Just the day before Newsom announced the grand blueprint, Musk announced at the Tesla Battery Day event that he would launch a $25,000 civilian version of the electric car in the next three years, which is nearly cheaper than the current lowest-priced Model 3 Twenty thousand dollars. Musk also announced that Tesla’s deliveries this year will increase by 30%-40% year-on-year.
The legendary “Million Mile Life Battery” did not appear at this event. But the $25,000 electric car still brings enough room for imagination. If Model 3 is aimed at luxury sedans starting at $40,000, such as the BMW 3 Series, then it can be imagined that the $25,000 electric car is targeted at a family car starting at $20,000 such as Toyota Corolla and Honda Accord, which is enough to go. Into the working-class family.
Industry analyst Veloz pointed out that the cost of electric vehicle batteries has fallen by 87% in the past ten years, the price of electric vehicles has dropped by 13%, and the price of fuel vehicles has increased by 2%. If government subsidies are included, the price of electric vehicles The price may be less than $20,000. These factors all indicate that electric vehicles will gradually become the first choice of working-class people to buy cars in the next decade.
After Newsom announced the grand blueprint, Ford CEO Jim Farley said immediately, “I am very proud that Ford is the only American car manufacturer that actively cooperates with the California government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” (Of course, because Tesla does not need to reduce emissions. Or he needs to add an attribute, traditional American automakers.) Ford Motor also stood with the California government last year and opposed the Trump administration’s abolition of the Obama administration’s vehicle emission standards.
California’s annual new car sales exceed 1.9 million, which is a huge cake that major car companies cannot give up. Even if the California government enforces one size fits all and uses policy measures to pressure auto companies to increase the proportion of new energy vehicles, major auto companies will look at the market and invest more resources to build new energy vehicles to compete for California, the largest car in the United States. market. Moreover, under the guidance of California, 11 states in the United States (mainly economically wealthy blue states led by the Democratic Party) have formulated similar zero-emission vehicle development plans.
California vs Trump Administration
In terms of the sales of fuel-burning vehicles, California has not led the world. At present, 15 countries around the world (mainly Western European countries such as Norway and Denmark) have successively issued new energy vehicle development plans, and plan to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles in the next few decades. California is the first state in the United States to legislate hard and fast regulations, leading the trend of new energy vehicles in the United States.
For California, formulating such an ambitious policy has an even more important significance. The California government hopes to replace the current US government and shoulder the banner of tackling global climate change. As we all know, Trump is a climate change skeptic. After he took office, he continued to withdraw the Obama administration’s environmental protection and emission reduction policies on the grounds of stimulating the economy and guaranteeing employment, relaxing the US automobile emission standards, leading the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and relax. Environmental supervision of traditional fossil energy allows exploration and exploitation of oil on the continental shelf of the coastline of the United States, and even the Arctic Circle.
These measures have continuously aroused the indignation of American environmentalists, and made the California government decide to stand up against the federal government. In 2017, after Trump announced his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, California’s former governor Brown immediately signed state law AB 398, which set the most aggressive emission reduction target in the United States: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels in 2030 , To achieve 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050 compared with 1990. In the second year, California passed the law again, planning to achieve 60% of its energy supply from clean energy in 2030, and achieve complete clean energy in 2045.
Two years have passed, and the progress of the California government’s environmental protection plan has been mixed. They completed the goal that one-third of their energy comes from clean energy two years ahead of schedule, but they did not complete the established emission reduction target. The economic downturn brought about by the new crown epidemic has brought new challenges, but Newson said that new energy will become a huge industry, and California hopes to seize this opportunity to upgrade the energy industry and lead this new industry.
Severe natural disasters have exacerbated California’s sense of urgency in responding to climate change. In 2018 and 2020, California wildfires set historical records in succession, which not only caused serious property losses and casualties, but also brought huge damage to California’s natural environment. There have been nearly 8,000 wildfires in California this year, with an area of 1.45 million hectares burned. Nearly 6,000 houses burned down, and the entire west coast was shrouded in smoke from wildfires. Unusual high temperatures, desert winds, scarce rainfall, and dry vegetation are the key reasons why California wildfires continue to occur year after year.
In dealing with climate change, California can work with China. China made a solemn pledge at the UN General Assembly last week, “China’s carbon dioxide emissions will strive to reach a peak before 2030, and strive to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.” With the current US government withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, China Will become the main promoter and leader of the global response to climate change.