Sen. Rubio Blasts California’s Gas Car Ban as Self-Defeating ‘Silliness’

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) took aim at California’s plans to ban gas-powered cars, telling reporters at a recent press conference in Florida that due to continued reliance on fossil fuels to generate electricity to charge electric vehicles (EVs), the scheme is self-defeating and silly.

Rubio made the remarks during a press conference in West Palm Beach on Sept. 16, in which he said California lacks the ability to produce enough electricity with solar and wind to meet the state’s plans to phase out sales of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 and replace them with electric vehicles.

“If they’re going to go to all battery-powered cars, then I guess they’re going to be charging their cars with coal and natural gas, because that’s how you produce electricity because they don’t like nuclear plants,” Rubio said.

“And I don’t think you can generate enough power for a state like California based on solar and wind. So in the end, it’s self-defeating,” the Republican senator added.

Rubio said he believes electric vehicle technology will continue to advance and the day will come when there’ll be more of them on American roads. But market mechanisms—not government dictates—should be the driving force behind widespread EV adoption, he said.

“I don’t think you’re going to get there through government mandates that force you to get to that point,” Rubio said.

He added that the “hypocrisy” and “silliness” of California’s scheme to ban gas-powered cars is reflected in such situations as California’s power grid operator telling EV drivers not to charge their vehicles at certain times because it puts too much pressure on the grid.

When government tries to force the widespread adoption of EVs “before the science gets there,” it will only burden people with higher costs and will lead to “ridiculous outcomes” like people going to states with no restrictions on gas-powered cars to buy them and bring them back to California.

Rubio’s remarks came several weeks after California regulators voted to prohibit the sale of new internal combustion vehicles by 2035, though Californians will be able to continue driving them or purchasing used ones beyond the deadline. The California scheme also allows for one-fifth of sales after 2035 to be plug-in hybrids that can run on batteries and gas.

A number of states are considering following California’s lead in banning gas-powered vehicles. Some have laws in place requiring alignment with California’s rigid vehicle emission regulations rather than federal standards, making adoption of California’s gas car ban near automatic.

Tom Ozimek

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Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he’s ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: ‘Hit your target’ and ‘leave the best for last.’

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