California is on a roll to dramatically change the way its citizens live – and how much it costs them.
It was just a month ago that the state announced a ban on the sale of all new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. It is the first jurisdiction in the world to enforce such a ban. The sale of used gas-powered vehicles is not affected, at least at this point.
The newest demand by the state is that the sale of all natural gas furnaces and water heaters is to be phased out by 2030. The measure recently was passed by the California Air Resources Board. There are many communities that have already banned any new or remodeling construction using natural gas for heating or cooking.
The goal of the ruling is to reduce nitrogen oxide pollution in the state, pollution generated by homes and buildings as well as gas power plants.
The goal may be a good one, although many debate that. What it means financially for residents is another thing entirely. Estimates are that it will cost $96.2 billion to enforce the measure, and the bulk of the cost will fall on homeowners who will have to pay for "zero-emissions" equipment when upgrading and replacing their AC/furnace units and water heaters, not to mention all new construction.
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In a way, Californians are already there. Consider that in 2010, the use of the refrigerant Freon was banned. So, if you have an older unit and it needs to be boosted, you can't get Freon. Your only recourse is to purchase a new AC/heater unit.
This latest ban is all part of the overall goal of Gov. Gavin Newsom's green agenda for the state, and it's estimated that it affects more than 21 million California residents – many of whom live in low-income communities. According to the state, many of them are in areas polluted by diesel and gas-powered cars and trucks. As a result, the state is also beginning to enforce a ban on those vehicles as well.
The effect on trucking businesses will be enormous, and the complaints are already pouring in. At this point, the state is not listening and in fact is aiming criticism at the feds. Air Resources Board Chairwoman Liane Randolph issued a statement that federal action is needed to clean up diesel pollution from trains, ships and aircraft.
As she summed it up: "We simply cannot provide clean air to Californians without the federal government doing its part."
As if all this weren't enough, this newest ban comes scarcely a month after the state passed another bill mandating that 100% of all retail sales of electricity must be zero-carbon emitting by 2045. Estimated cost to taxpayers is an additional $3.2 billion annually. Yearly quotas must be met – 50% of all electricity sold must be renewable by Dec. 31, 2026, and 60% by 2030.
Bottom line for all of this is that every single Californian – and ultimately, every American – will be hit hard in the pocketbook. Whether any of this accomplishes what the greens say they want, remains to be seen.
As the cost of electricity increases and the requirement that we buy electric cars and other equipment, there is no way to predict the total effect on us and the economy. At this point, the main goal is cars – and the cost of EVs is prohibitive for most families.
Despite that, the push continues for electric cars, and it's being helped along by communities banning the opening of new gas stations and banning the renewal of leases for existing ones.
So, the government says we can keep our gas vehicles for now, but it is also making it harder and harder for us to purchase the fuel to run them.
Talk about a squeeze – and we call it "our" government.
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