No Gasoline Cars after 2035

No Gasoline Cars after 2035

(This is a repost of an article that was erased from the website by accident. A total of four articles will be republished over the next several weeks due to their being erased.)

Senator Merkley introduced a Bill, the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act of 2020, to end the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035, 15 years from now. It was co-sponsored in the House by Representative Mark Levin.

Here is the headline from Senator Merkley’s website:


Senator Merkley cites climate change as the need for this legislation.

There are 253 million light vehicles, i.e., cars, on the road in the United States.

Is it possible to prohibit the sale of gasoline cars, i.e., internal combustion engine vehicle, (ICEs) in 2035? 

Note that the legislation refers to Zero emission vehicles so, technically, it could include hydrogen powered FuelCell vehicles. If FuelCell vehicles become important, it will add additional complications, such as building out two different refueling networks, one for hydrogen and the other for electricity. Since hydrogen will probably be produced from electricity, it will also create different requirements for power generation, etc.

This article focuses solely on BEVs and assumes that FuelCell vehicles will not play a major role.


Let’s put the number of vehicles sold and on the road in perspective,

In normal years, around 17 million cars are sold annually.

If all the cars sold from 2021 to 2035 were BEVs, or around 17 million every year, they would barely replace all 253 million ICEs on the road today. 

But that’s not what’s being proposed.

The proposal infers that the sale of BEVs must increase rapidly from now until 2035.

Let’s examine how quickly the sale of BEVs must increase under this legislation.

There were approximately 250,000 BEVs sold in 2019.

For a smooth transition, the number of BEVs sold annually will have to increase by 30%, i.e., 1.3% starting from 250,000 vehicles.

At that constant rate of increase, the number of BEVs sold in 2035 would be 17 million. This happens to equal the number of vehicles sold annually now.

If that rate can’t be maintained between now and 2035, there will be a bump in the road. The larger the shortfall in 2034, the bigger the bump.

Most light vehicles are scrapped after 11.5 years, which happens to be the average age of light vehicles.

Any ICE purchased after 2024 will be obsolete when sold.

This raises the question of whether it will be unlawful to sell a used ICE after 2035. The Bill is silent on that issue.

Note that The actual House Bill, H.R.2764, is more complicated than the article posted on Senator Merkley’s website, though the essence is the same. The differences are that a schedule is to be established for the required number of BEVs to be sold until 2040, with the sale of ICEs prohibited after 2040. There will also be a credit program, presumably similar to the existing credit program where manufacturers can buy credits if they miss their targets.

If 17 million BEVs are sold every year after 2035, there will be no ICEs on the road in 2046. 

This is, of course, the objective of the legislation.

As in Cuba today, some people will nurse their ICEs to have them last longer, but will the government act to prohibit their continued use? 

Since heavy trucks, etc., aren’t included in the legislation, the additional effect on the electric grid, etc., will be greater than visualized here if they also must be battery powered.

All of this is to occur within 15 years, which is an extraordinarily short period of time for a change like this to take place. For example, it has only been 13 years since Obama was elected president.

But can the 30% rate be maintained?

This table will allow you to track what actually happens.

But this isn’t the only question.

The two most important unanswered questions are probably:

  1. How much additional generation capacity will be required to provide the additional power needed to recharge the batteries of 253,000,000 BEVs, and how much additional transmission and distribution capacity, in terms of lines, transformers and auxiliary equipment, will be required?
  2. Will the demand for Lithium and cobalt exceed supply, thereby increasing the cost of batteries? And, also the cost of BEVs? And what will be the environmental consequences of mining these minerals and subsequently disposing of used batteries?

Note, adjacent to this article, is an announcement of a report being prepared that examines the effect of BEVs on the electric grid, including the required additional generation and the effect on the transmission and distribution system.

. . .



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4 Replies to “No Gasoline Cars after 2035”

  1. This proposal is insane, lacks an understanding of the economy on fossil fuels for economy and necessity to get around.
    Mandating such policy is dangerous when a replacement fuel source remains to be viable. Electric cars may be jazzy but the drawbacks are significant for a commuter and others, Range, availability ,cost, reliability of energy source remains to be solved and many never be resolved due to thermodynamic, chemistry, and Physic limitation.
    A lot of people have been working of the great BATTERY for over half a century with little progress.
    Also they fail to understand the vast distribution system required.

    • Very true. Hydrogen is a bad idea. It’s being put forth because the other proposals to cut CO2 emissions to zero aren’t working.