Environment /

New York Mandates Zero-Emission New Vehicles Sales by 2035

Governor Kathy Hochul said New York is 'a national climate leader and an economic powerhouse'

Governor Kathy Hochul announced that all new vehicles sold in New York will be required to be zero-emission by 2035.

Hochul arrived at her Sept. 29 press conference in a parking lot in White Plains in a Chevy Bolt and said her state was “putting our foot on the accelerator” and “revving up” its transition to zero-emission vehicles by establishing a specific timeline.

“New York is a national climate leader and an economic powerhouse, and we’re using our strength to help spur innovation and implementation of zero-emission vehicles on a grand scale,” Hochul said in a statement.”With sustained state and federal investments, our actions are incentivizing New Yorkers, local governments, and businesses to make the transition to electric vehicles.”

Initially, 35% of the sales of all new passenger cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs purchased in New York for the model year 2026 must be zero-emission vehicles. The government will continue to gradually increase the requirement, from 68% of sales by 2030 to 100% in 2035.

New pollutant standards for model year 2026 through model year 2034 passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles with internal combustion engines would also be required,” Hochul’s government notes. “The regulation provides manufacturers with flexibility in meeting the emission requirements and achieving a successful transition to cleaner vehicles.”

The requirement is part of a collection of regulations aimed at prompting residents to switch to electric vehicles now rather than later. 

By 2027, all new school buses purchased must be zero-emissions. The governor said her goal is to have a completely zero-emission fleet by 2035. The state government is also investing $1 billion in switching vehicles of all weight classes to zero-emission vehicles by 2027.

Governor Hochul is demonstrating her sustained commitment to the successful implementation of the Climate Act and ensuring all New Yorkers benefit from the State’s actions to address climate change,” said Basil Seggos, the co-Chair of the Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and Climate Action. “DEC will continue to work under her direction to rapidly issue this regulation and reach another milestone in the transition from fossil fuels so that more people, businesses, and governments will have the ZEV options to meet their needs and help improve the health of their communities.”

The New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019 mandated the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050

New York is the second state to set deadlines for a large-scale switch to zero-emission vehicles. In August, California passed a ban on the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035. California’s legislation opened the door for other states to set into motion the terminal fate of gas-powered vehicles, per ABC 7 NY.

Under the Clean Air Act of 1970, California was permitted to set its own, stricter-than-federal emission standard due to the historic smog issues in Los Angeles. 

“That’s all right, once [California] made that decision, we are able to step up immediately and say now there’s nothing holding us back,” said Hochul. “We had to wait for California to take a step because there’s some federal requirements that California had to go first. That’s the only time we’re letting them go first.”

To help residents buy electric vehicles instead of gas-powered vehicles, New York will boost funding for its Drive Clean rebate program by $10 million. The program has already issued 70,000 rebates which equate to roughly $2,000 per car.

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