A car is shown at a gas station near the San Diego State University campus in 2018. Photo by Megan Wood via inewsource

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday questioned Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to require all new passenger vehicle sales in 2035 be zero-emission models, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the plan “raises serious questions regarding its legality and practicality” and said it could impact the state’s electrical grid.

“California’s record of rolling blackouts — unprecedented in size and scope — coupled with recent requests to neighboring states for power begs the question of how you expect to run an electric car fleet that will come with significant increases in electricity demand, when you can’t even keep the lights on today,” Wheeler wrote.

Newsom did not immediately comment on the report.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” the governor said in announcing his executive order. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. You deserve to have a car that doesn’t give your kids asthma. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”

Newsom’s executive order will not take anybody’s car away. Californians could still drive and resell their gas-powered vehicles. But it does direct the state Air Resources Board to phase out sales of new gas-powered passenger vehicles and certain freight trucks by 2035, and medium and heavy duty trucks by 2045 “where feasible.

Reuters contributed to this article.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.