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California’s new vehicle engine rules: What do they mean for RVers?

Earlier this week, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) enacted new rules with huge implications. Come 2035, with few exceptions, only new “zero emissions” cars and pickups can be sold in the Golden State. That will include many Class C motorhomes. It’s expected that another 15 states will follow California’s lead.

By 2045, most Class A motorhome sales will see the same fate. The only “gas burning” engine vehicles exempted from the ban will be “plug-in hybrid” units that will still be allowed under the 2035 ban. What will happen to RVers? What about other related services that could have a deep impact under the new regulations?

If you already own one…

First, let’s talk about a little of the fine print of the new regulations. If you already have a fossil-fuel-burning engine car, truck, or motorhome, California won’t stop you from driving them. Even after 2035, anyone who wants to buy or sell a used gas or diesel burning rig will be free to do so. The ban strictly applies to new vehicles.

engineBut the new regulations raise plenty of questions. Will the “zero emissions” push serve to mean “zero services” in related fields? Under CARB’s ruling, just two years from now, in 2024, a greater percentage of new “zero emissions” vehicles will be required to be sold, ramping up each year, until only the clean-air vehicles are allowed. Just imagine that when 2035 rolls around, what if, say, 80% of cars and pickups in California don’t require gas or diesel? Will most existing “gas stations” pull their fuel pumps and substitute E.V. charging stations?

If that were the case, will you need to drive your motorhome or your pickup pulling your trailer miles and miles to find a suitable fuel station? Pulling into a 7-Eleven may still find you able to grab a Slurpee, but what about a tank of regular? Or what if that dreadful “check engine light” blinks on while you’re on the RV road. If the majority of vehicles on the road don’t run on gas or diesel, will you be able to find an engine repair technician close enough to help you? And even if you do, will they be so booked up that you could wait weeks—even months—to get the service you need?

Not limited to California

We can hear what some may be thinking: “Oh, forget it. It’s just California. I don’t live there, and don’t plan on going there.” Consider the saying, “Where California goes, others follow.” It’s early in the game, but here’s a list of other states that already plan to follow California’s lead—and you can be sure more will join as time rolls by.

  • Colorado: Wants 100% renewable energy vehicles by 2040.
  • Connecticut: By 2025, the Constitution State wants 125,000 – 150,000 electric vehicles on its roads.
  • Delaware: Has already said it will adopt California’s regulations.
  • “Maine Won’t Wait” is the state’s motto on clean-air emissions. It wants 200,000 zero-emissions cars and trucks on the highway by 2030.
  • Maryland has its own “Clean Car Program.” Under this program, the Old Line State can readily adopt California’s regulations.
  • Massachusetts: Officials say the state will adopt and put in place California’s clean engine regulations.
  • Minnesota: The state already adopted California’s emissions rules, back in 2021. It’s not a shoo-in—some state lawmakers are balking at what’s happened and want to back out.
  • New Jersey: Has its own plans on pumping up the number of zero-emissions vehicles. It wants 85% of new “light duty” vehicles sold there to be EVs by 2040.
  • New Mexico: Last month the state’s Clean Car Rule became the standard. The state will start phasing out gas engine powered cars, trucks, and SUVs in 2026.
  • New York: A new law would phase in non-gas-powered cars and trucks. With the California rule official, New York’s law is in effect.
  • Oregon: Says it wants 90% of new vehicles sold to be zero-emission by 2035.
  • Rhode Island’s governor signed a joint letter with a total of 12 state governors asking President Joe Biden to support phasing out gas-powered cars by 2035.
  • Vermont: The Green Mountain State wants to go green. It says by 2025, more than 5 percent of new vehicles sold in Vermont will be required to be zero-emission.
  • Washington state: Jumps California’s regulations. A new law requires that all cars registered in the state be electric by 2030.

Industry responds

It’s early in the news cycle. We asked for comments from industry groups, including California’s recreational vehicle dealers, and the groups representing retail fuel sellers, and automotive repair technicians. While we haven’t heard back from them, we’ll let you know what they have to say when we do.

We did hear back from the national group RV Dealers Association. Phil Ingrassia is the association’s president. While he told us the RVDA has no official position on the California rules, he did speak about the subject in general terms. RVDA had discussions with California’s rulemakers, and raised concerns about the issues such as battery production, and the availability of raw materials. Was CARB certain their energetic timeline would work? CARB responded that “technology will catch up” with the demands of the rules.

Ingrassia pointed out that major RV manufacturers and suppliers were already working on electric-driven motorhomes, and zero-emissions drive units for towables. Speaking of California’s move, he told us, “This will accelerate that pace of change for RV owners.” He added, “We continue to work as an industry to operate in the environment that’s there.” At the same time, he admitted that the entire picture of how things will play out just isn’t clear.

How do you feel?

Yes, things do appear a bit nebulous. With California leading as the engine of change, and other states following, where does this leave you? Do you feel comfortable buying a new toad car, pickup truck for towing, or a motorhome now? If there is a paucity of fueling stations and repair facilities, are you willing to stick out your neck on a fossil-fuel-engine-run rig? We’d like to hear your thoughts. Please drop us a reply using the form below, and write “California rules” on the subject line.

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DAW
1 month ago

I cannot believe that so many people refuse to face the fact that we must transition to cleaner fuels. For the sake of our grandchildren, we should all be excited that the State of CA is again leading the way to a cleaner, healthier future. Are all problems solved, no, but we won’t get there by doing nothing. Climate change is already wreaking havoc- wildfires in CA and the west, heavy rains in the mid-west. Come on people, let’s face the fact that it is time to step up our game and start searching for a a wide variety of ways to cut our fossil fuel emissions.

Gary
1 month ago
Reply to  DAW

Lol.

Rio
1 month ago
Reply to  DAW

Can the current electric grid of CA support so many electric vehicles? Probably not. This will spur innovation and progress. I imagine the current naysayers and chest thumpers are the same type of people who fought against the transition from horse and buggy to gasoline engines. History is repeating itself, but in this case we’ll be getting rid of air pollution (and kids with asthma) instead of flies and horse poop.

Gary
1 month ago
Reply to  Rio

Lol.

Lee A.
1 month ago
Reply to  DAW

Read the book “Dark Winter” by John Casey. Nothing humans can do will alter “Climate Change”…it’s been that way since the beginning of time. It’s based on scientific facts, not political goals and BS.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lee A.
Hspb
1 month ago

“If you already have a fossil-fuel-burning engine car, truck, or motorhome….”
Are you trying to guilt trip me or something? I will continue to drive my 6.0L V8 Dinosaur eating 2500HD while the rest of you cry because of week long, or longer, BLACKOUTS because your power grid can’t handle the amount of customers you have with only 10% of Californians already driving EV’s! Holy Cr@p, can you imagine how much your electric bill is going to cost when you have 2 or more EV’s per family?? I’m calling it NOW! I AM VOTING _NO_ FOR ELECTEIC BILL FORGIVENESS!! YOU VOTED FOR EV’S YOU HAVE TO PAY THE BILL FOR EACH AND EVERY CHARGE!! The same with college tuition forgiveness! How the he// do you think it is MY responsibility for YOUR college loan debt? Get your @ss off the couch and go flip burgers! Another most Rediculous move is apparently you can make $15.00 for an unskilled job. You are not going to pay my bills, why should I pay yours??!?!?!?!!

Brian Carr
1 month ago

So I’m in California for next few months. They want to go all electric. Lmmfao. Today they have sent a message that due to a heat wave. We are not supposed to use air conditioning or charge electric cars. Just weeks after passing this bill. Idiots better figure a way to make electric. I mean really… they are trying to shut this state down.

Craig
1 month ago

It’s ridiculous and politically motivated. Here in CA, this was an executive order by the governor without a vote by the people. You must ask “Who stands to financially gain from the shift to all electric?” It’s Definitely not the common man. Zero Emissions Vehicles are really REMOTE EMISSIONS Vehicles because the pollution involved in building and charging them is remote to the end user, out of sight, out of mind. CA residents are constantly told to conserve electricity because demand outpaces supply especially during heat waves. If our infrastructure can’t support what we are currently doing, how will it support multiple electric cars being charged at each residence? San Diego, Ca is now looking at forcing all residents to abandon natural gas in their homes and move to all electric. Next they will want to ban all of us from having a wood burning campfire or bbq. Yes, our air is better than it was 40 years ago, but how much is too much?

Rio
1 month ago
Reply to  Craig

As long as we continue to burn a hole in the ozone layer, nothing is ‘too much’ to try to make a better climate for my grandchildren. Is our technology there yet? No, but we’ll never get there without a goal. Adulting is hard sometimes.

Gary
1 month ago
Reply to  Rio

That “hole” has pretty much been fixed.

CLeeNick
1 month ago

Out of necessity, I suppose in the near-term, simply eliminating RV’ing/vacationing in states where fuel availability is questionable will be the answer. For me and mine, that won’t be a problem. It’s a big country, and I imagine some states will still welcome tourist dollars.

Last edited 1 month ago by CLeeNick
Joe O'Bremski
1 month ago

If… and only IF I have to travel into California I bring my fuel with me. Both my trucks either carry 126 or 160 gallons of diesel so I can easily “bypass” CA for fuel stops. Their fuel prices have always been outrageous.

Rio
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe O'Bremski

I do hope all the people threatening to stay away from CA actually do so.

Sweden\'Texas
1 month ago

Why do the ice caps on mars increase and decrease, without people there?
Why do we not hear from astronomers about the elliptical path of the earth
around the sun, and the sun rotation patterns, causing the 11 and 22 year
heating and cooling cycles of the earth. Plus all the ice ages that have come
and gone, which is it, are we warming or cooling. Elon Musk says the worlds
most potential problem in population decrease by 2080 will be half of what
it is today. See his predictions on the net/Google.

Lee A.
1 month ago
Reply to  Sweden\'Texas

Read the book Dark Winter by John Casey. It answers all of your questions and more. Plus, electric car batteries don’t do well in cold climates, they need heaters to keep them warm.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=dark+Winter&crid=282GICUIYDW8B&sprefix=dark+winter%2Caps%2C132&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Sweden\'Texas

You’re paying attention to the Merchants of Doubt. That implies that climate scientists the world over are engaged a conspiracy, or they’re just stupid. Does that seem more believable to you than pouring Co2 into the atmosphere for 150 years is a problem?

Last edited 1 month ago by chris
David Binkley
1 month ago

Cart WAY before the horse. Most of these states can’t even fix potholes much less have the infrastructure necessary to keep up with the increasing demand for electricity.

John Koenig
1 month ago

A: this is 12+ YEARS away. A LOT can happen in that time.
B: This seems to cover “Cars & Pick Up Trucks” only. Larger vehicles will still need fuel.
C: CA has been trying to ban leaded AvGas (100LL) for 30+ years now and a “Safe & Suitable” substitute is STILL a long way off.
D: I’ve RVed ONCE in CA and, DON’T feel the need to go back. VERY few RVers NEED to visit CA. LOTS of other places / states to go to.
E: The demand for CLEANLY produced electricity (or for that matter “dirty electricity”) IS on shaky grounds NOW. Add millions of E-vehicles and I want to know WHERE all that “extra” juice is coming from. Right now, we have lots of rah rah electric fan boys promising pie in the sky. News flash; it ain’t that easy.
F: There’s already a HUGE (and expensive) infrastructure in place. Dismantling said infrastructure will take QUITE a bit of doing. Big Oil has BILLIONS they will not walk away from easily.
G: I’m sure there are other “obstacles” I haven’t mentioned.

TerriR
1 month ago

I googled how is electricity produced in the US and got this : According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, most of the nation’s electricity was generated by natural gas, nuclear energy, and coal in 2020. Electricity is also produced from renewable sources such as wind, hydropower, solar power, biomass, wind, and geothermal. For CA : In 2021, California was the nation’s top producer of electricity from solar, geothermal, and biomass energy. The state was fourth in the nation in conventional hydroelectric power generation, down from second in 2019, in part because of drought and increased water demand.
The rest of the country has a long haul before renewable resources are all in use to make electricity and should probably be concentrating on clean water (like desalination plants) with all the ongoing droughts

Cooper
1 month ago

I don’t care. I’ll be dead.

JAMES
1 month ago

It’s the BLUE (or Green) STATES that should go back to horse and buggy.

KellyR
1 month ago

We would have run out of whale oil, we will run out of petroleum, and lithium as well. The “mining” of each has supposedly added to pollution, as happened when man decided to domesticate cattle, creating more methane. Invention continues to solve problems, whether intentional, accidental, or forcibly. Forcibly by the gov’t has not always been bad. Stop signs, auto headrests, crushable frontends, mandated MPG, catalytic converters, scrubbing smokestacks have saved lives. Mandated water saving showers and toilets has saved water. (RVer’s should understand that.) Remember when water saving showers and toilets was THE big issue?  

KellyR
1 month ago
Reply to  KellyR

Cont’d: None of this was a scheme to “collapse the economy”, and I cannot see who would benefit by that. Horse drawn vehicles existed for decades with those devil petroleum vehicles before they were put to pasture. The only constant on this earth is change. Complaining may slow change, but will not stop it. I think this whole thing started when that guy invented the wheel. 

Larry Lee
1 month ago
Reply to  KellyR

I suggest it began with the first stone axe. This topic is covered in the book titled The Axemaker’s Gift.

Joseph Bulger
1 month ago

Virginia ex governor Governor Ralph Northam before leaving office signed legislation in 2021 that follows the lead of California. Current Governor Youngkin is trying to repeal the law however it’s like trying to push a rope uphill.

Gary
1 month ago

I see a cottage industry of Californians buying gas vehicles in neighboring states, bringing them home, driving them for 500 miles and selling them for a profit as a “used” vehicle

Alex DuBois
1 month ago
Reply to  Gary

Or people will “move” to another state, buy an ICE, and “move” back because, well, things didn’t work out.

Scott
1 month ago

California can’t even keep the power on in the summer as it is. Rolling blackouts, brownouts, etc. How are they going to convert all those vehicles to electric when they can’t power their houses now?

Joseph Phebus
1 month ago

California leads by setting its sights on the equivalent of putting a man on the moon. Or, if you prefer something closer to home, electrification of the country throught the TVA, or building out the interstate highway system.

I’m excited to see America reaching high in setting stretch goals, putting its talents and ingenuity to work to achieve them, and once again becoming the envy of the world in what a country can accomplish with visionary leadership and a “can do” attitude. Will it all be smooth sailing? Of course not. But none of the great things this country has achieved would have been done without those who looked beyond the challenges, never lost sight of the goal and refused to be beaten down by the naysayers.

Rvguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Joseph Phebus

Your as nutty as the new law. Change can happen , we don’t need politicians telling us what to do and Ca and all these other states better figure out how to produce enough electricity to support 16 million vehicles. That what it takes to move America around. Next watch the cost for us electricity rise. Saw this in Ca when they asked us to stop watering because of the drought. Water Co was not getting the revenue to fix their infrastructure. It’s basic math what ya do to the right side of the equal sign it’s has to be the same on the other side to balance out.

Finally cars today are so efficient and clean burning they are a much smaller problem than the politicians are leading us to believe. Dig into the tail pipe emission of Jet Airplanes, shipping tankers , cargo ships , cruise ships they all burn diesel and they don’t have def containers on them.

So glad I am out of that crazy state.

chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Rvguy

Clean burning (or clean air) does not address the Co2 problem. Our last president got that wrong too.

Gary
1 month ago
Reply to  chris

What CO2 problem?

chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Gary

Yeah, right.

Alex DuBois
1 month ago
Reply to  Gary

Exactly. Nature adapts to changing conditions. The earth “greened” by more than 30% between 1980-2020. CO2 increased by 3 molecules in 10,000 molecule of “air” to 4 molecules in 10,000. Nothing to be worried about.

chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex DuBois

Whew. Just when I thought climate scientists actually knew what they were talking about. Saved by the internet.

Last edited 1 month ago by chris
B N S
1 month ago

The Worlds Population is so easily “Controlled” by the Elite Political talking heads (WEF, Mass Media, etc).. Many critical thinkers believe The Green Agenda is the plan to collapse the Industrial World Economy… There is a larger picture here..

chris
1 month ago
Reply to  B N S

Much of the world’s population, namely here, is controlled by conspiracies that claim reducing burning of fossil fuels is a way to collapse the economy.

Jeff Craig
1 month ago
Reply to  B N S

Larger picture?
Lords…. If only I could put in my favorite ‘eye roll’ meme.

Uncle Swags
1 month ago

Commerce clause of the Constitution should put a stop to this nonsense; too bad it can’t fix the bad thinking behind it,

Cheryl Bacon
1 month ago
Reply to  Uncle Swags

Interesting perspective. Since it seems, the new US normal is, everything eventually winds up in the Federal Supreme court, I agree, I see this going the same direction.

Astrid Bierworth
1 month ago

Notice that most of the states listed are northern? I don’t see the likes of Florida, Alabama, Texas, etc.

Last edited 1 month ago by Astrid Bierworth
B N S
1 month ago

Astrid, Many feel this is by design….

Jeff Craig
1 month ago
Reply to  B N S

It is – because we don’t want to leave our great grandkids a hellscape to live on.

Jeff Craig
1 month ago

The market is going this way anyway.
The west coast is just doing it because we don’t want to deal with you climate refugees when storms, floods, drought and heatwaves destroy your homes and industries, forcing you north and west. We want rules like these because we understand science, not ignore it for political gain.

Sheryl Hendrix
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff Craig

😆😆😆

MattD
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff Craig

Ah! you mean like the storms, floods, drought, heatwaves and fires destroying California now?

Jeff Craig
1 month ago
Reply to  MattD

Yes, but considering CA is the same size as several of those states you mentioned – and they are moving here to WA – I’m not wrong.