Will California Phase Out Oil-Fired Cars?

Will California’s ban on petroleum fueled vehicles by 2035 prove to be sound policy? As I said in a 2013 column on California vehicle mandates, insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Past vehicle mandates have been abandoned as unworkable, and the recent electricity crisis has been blamed in part on the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards. Could this time be different?

The reality of electric vehicle technology is that costs have come down and performance has increased significantly from the days of the ill-fated zero emission vehicle mandate that California and a number of other states adopted in the 1990s. The costs of lithium-ion batteries, which well out-perform the earlier lead-acid batteries, have come down sharply, something like 80-90% in the past decade.

Which begs the question, if electric vehicles have improved so much and are still only 5% of

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