Virginia to Exit California EV Mandate

Virginia to Exit California EV Mandate 4Governor Youngkin today announced the end of the California electric vehicle mandate in Virginia, effective at the end of 2024 when California’s current regulations expire. An official opinion from Attorney General Jason Miyares in response to a request by the Governor and Senate Republican Leader Ryan McDougle confirms that Virginia is not required to comply with expansive new mandates adopted by the unelected California Air Resources Board (CARB) set to take effect January 1, 2025.

“Once again, Virginia is declaring independence – this time from a misguided electric vehicle mandate imposed by unelected leaders nearly 3,000 miles away from the Commonwealth,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “The idea that government should tell people what kind of car they can or can’t purchase is fundamentally wrong. Virginians deserve the freedom to choose which vehicles best fit the needs of their families and businesses. The law is clear, and I am proud to announce Virginians will no longer be forced to live under this out-of-touch policy.”

“Today, I’ve issued an official Attorney General Opinion that confirms that Virginians are no longer legally bound to follow the emission standards of California,” said Attorney General Jason Miyares. “EV mandates like California’s are unworkable and out of touch with reality, and thankfully the law does not bind us to their regulations. California does not control which cars Virginians buy and any thoughts that automobile manufacturers should face millions of dollars in civil penalties rather than allowing our citizens to choose their own vehicles is completely absurd.”

In 2021, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation authorizing Virginia’s Air Board to adopt California’s “Advanced Clean Cars I” regulation pursuant to Section 177 of the federal Clean Air Act. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently adopted “Advanced Clean Cars II,” set to take effect January 1, 2025, which would require 100% of new cars sold in Model Year 2035 to be electric vehicles. An opinion from Attorney General Jason Miyares confirms the law, as written, does not require Virginia to follow ACC II. Therefore, the Commonwealth will follow federal emissions standards on January 1, 2025.

“Throughout CARB’s ‘Advanced Clean Cars II’ regulation are references to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive orders and the unique environmental circumstances facing California. Virginia’s laws should not be determined by California politicians. Instead, our laws should be decided by Virginians who are elected to serve Virginia and address issues that face our Commonwealth, not a state nearly 3,000 miles away,” said Senator Ryan McDougle, who co-patroned legislation to repeal CARB’s mandate during this year’s legislative session along with Senator Richard Stuart, Senator John McGuire, Delegate Lee Ware, Delegate Tony Wilt, and Delegate Buddy Fowler.

Under Advanced Clean Cars II, beginning in Model Year 2026, 35% of the new cars sold would have been required to be electric vehicles, moving up to 100% in 2035. If an auto manufacturer sells a standard automobile out of compliance with California’s mandate, they may be required to pay a fine upwards of $20,000 per vehicle sold. Given that EVs only amounted to 9% of vehicles sold in Virginia in 2023, application of the misguided mandates could have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties. Virginia auto consumers and dealers could be forced to bear these costs. Not only would this leave auto dealers with less money to pay staff, offer raises, and grow their businesses, it could force many small auto dealers to permanently close their doors.

The Attorney General’s opinion can be found here.

A formal memo from Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles to regulated entities and the Department of Environmental Quality can be found here.

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