Majority of voters favor gasoline-car phaseout. But all-electric goal faces tough opposition
California voters face a tough choice when they roll the dice on climate policy on June 7 — deciding whether to go with a clean-energy alternative that involves electric vehicles or gas-guzzling vehicles.
The two clean-energy visions on the ballot offer voters two different paths forward, but the choices are far from clear-cut. Both will likely be judged by their effectiveness — whether a greener future will come to pass and how much money will be spent in a given year.
A key measure in both cases is whether the goal is achieved in 30 years or 60 years. And the difference between the two clean-energy visions is whether the state gets behind the vision of electrifying the state’s car fleet to make it greener.
The Clean Gas Vehicles and Clean Cars ballot measures put a total of about $5 billion over the next few years into the electricity grid so that gas-guzzling vehicles can be replaced with electric ones. They are championed by the governor’s office and also by the California Labor Federation, which represents the country’s largest union, and two leading business groups.
The two visions diverge on whether the state will reach a goal at 60 years or 30 years. Clean Cars wants to get the electric vehicle phase out of the system by 2030, while Clean Gas Vehicles wants to retire the internal combustion engine in 60 to 90 years. “Our goal is to do it by 2020,” said Carl Guardino, head of the California Air Alliance for Clean Air, which is backing the clean-car phaseout effort.
The issue is especially significant for voters because it’s one of only two statewide ballot propositions on climate policy out of three. The other statewide initiative is a statewide initiative to require more efficient appliances, called California’s Renewable Energy Standard initiative, an effort spearheaded by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The other important climate issue in California is the state’s drought. Voters will weigh whether to give state and federal authorities more power to tackle the worst weather-related problems by either putting a