The State of California is the latest jurisdiction to add its name to the list of places that could ban the sale of vehicles powered by combustion engines.

America’s most populous state is famous for its tough emissions control standards for motor vehicles, along with the notoriously poor air quality that prompted them.

California’s population is the largest of any American state, as is its economy, which, if California were a country, would be among the 10 largest in the world. A combustion power ban there – two million new cars were registered there in 2016 – would have a massive knock-on effect in the auto industry.

If only electric vehicles were permitted to be sold in California, automakers would have to produce so many of them to satisfy demand that economies of scale would likely bring prices down.

Such a transition could render gasoline and diesel vehicles no longer cost-effective to produce for the North American market, if not much of the western world.

According to the chair of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Mary Nichols, it was state governor Jerry Brown who floated the idea of a ban.

“I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’” Nichols was quoted in Automotive News, referring to China’s planned phase-out of fossil-fuel vehicle sales. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.”

The governments of the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Germany, India, and Norway have also already announced they want to ban the sale of vehicles powered exclusively by gasoline and diesel within the next two decades.

The state wants to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, a feat Nichols says can only be achieved by “… pretty much (replacing) all combustion with some form of renewable energy by 2040 or 2050.”

(via Automotive News)