California will require that all light-duty autonomous vehicles operating in the state emit zero emissions starting in 2030. SB 500, which was signed into law Thursday by Governor Gavin Newsom, is the latest attempt by the state limit the sale and use of internal combustion vehicles. It also aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Newsom signed an executive decree in 2020 that banned new gasoline- and diesel-powered cars from being sold by 2035. The Air Resources Board of California mandated that all new trucks sold in California must emit zero emissions by 2045.
In a statement to Engadget, Prashanthi Raman (head of global government affairs at Cruise), said that they are grateful for California's leadership in making sure this industry standard is established. The AV industry has the potential to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is why Cruise supported SB 500 through its participation in the Emission Zero Coalition, which also includes autonomous delivery startup Nuro.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, transportation has been the largest source of greenhouse gases in the US since 2019. Light-duty vehicles account for more than half. But autonomous cars only represent a small fraction of California's nearly 15 million vehicles. Cruise and Waymo, two of the largest companies that are testing fully autonomous taxi services in California, use fleets almost entirely of hybrid and electric vehicles. California's latest initiative is intended to prevent autonomous vehicles becoming major polluters, especially if they become more popular among commuters.
Editor's Note: This article first appeared on Engadget.