Virginia Will No Longer Follow California’s Emissions Rules, Will Revert to Federal Rules End of 2024

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By the end of 2024, Virginia will shift from adhering to California’s emissions regulations to following federal standards. Governor Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, has endorsed this change, emphasizing that Virginians should have the freedom to choose their vehicles without government intervention. He criticized the idea of the government dictating which cars people should purchase as “fundamentally wrong.”

Governor Youngkin’s decision has sparked controversy. Environmental groups and some political leaders oppose the move. Senate Majority Leader Scott Surovell accused Youngkin of breaking the law, claiming that the attorney general is supporting the governor’s decision improperly. The Southern Environmental Law Center, represented by senior attorney Trip Pollard, argues that the Clean Cars standards adopted by the General Assembly are vital for environmental and public health benefits in Virginia.

Attorney General Jason Miyares defended the decision, stating that California’s requirements are impractical for Virginia. He reiterated that it is unreasonable to penalize automobile manufacturers heavily for not meeting California’s standards, suggesting that Virginians should have the autonomy to select their own vehicles. Resources Secretary Travis A. Voyles confirmed that Virginia would revert to federal standards at the end of 2024.

Virginia initially adopted the Clean Cars law in 2021, under Democratic leadership. Retaining California’s regulations would have required car manufacturers to sell a specified number of electric and hybrid vehicles in the state. Besides California, states like New Jersey and New York are also planning to prohibit the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.


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