New York is following California’s lead by mandating that all new cars, pickups and SUVs sold in the state must be either EVs or plug-in hybrids, Governor Kathy Hochul announced. To reach that goal, 35 percent of new cars must be zero-emission by 2026 and 60 percent by 2030. New school buses must also be zero emissions by 2035. A public hearing will be held before the rules are put into place.

Hochul ordered the state’s environmental agency to create similar standards to those adopted by California that phases out all fossil-fuel-only car sales by 2035. Those rules went into last month and were designed to reduce passenger vehicle pollution 25 percent by 2037, with 9.5 fewer internal-combustion engine (ICE) only vehicles sold by 2035.

“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,” the governor said in a press conference yesterday.

The state is following California’s actions for a reason. The Clean Air Act permits California to set its own pollution rules, but other states aren’t allowed to do that. However, they can follow California once it acts — so California must pave the way for any emissions rules implemented by individual states.

The governor also unveiled a $10 million Drive Clean Rebate Program. That gives residents a $2,000 rebate toward the purchase of over 60 EVs and plug-in hybrids that’s on top of the $7,500 federal tax rebate. The state has spent $92 million on the program to date. The state also announced the installation of its 100th fast charger as part of the EVolve charging network. 

“With sustained state and federal investments, our actions are incentivizing New Yorkers, local governments, and businesses to make the transition to electric vehicles,” Hochul said.