Albany, NY — An Albany mandate requiring 100 percent of new passenger car and truck sales be zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035 could be as improbable as it is harmful for middle- and low-income New Yorkers, a new Empire Center study concludes.

The report, “The Market Can Drive Electric Vehicle Sales,” reveals the costs and consequences of a September 2022 law that makes the all-electric vehicle sales a “a goal of the state,” establishing regulations that will move New York towards ending the sale of all new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

To meet intermediate goals set along the way, New Yorkers would have to increase their ZEV-purchases by almost 900 percent within the next three years, according to assumptions based on DMV estimates.

The ban on internal combustion engine vehicle sales applies only to new vehicles, which will drive more individuals who cannot afford a new ZEV into the used car market. The report argues that this may result in higher prices for used cars, further harming auto owners who depend on the used market for their vehicle purchases.

The report concludes that the mandate — and its ensuing negative economic effects — might not be necessary after all. Under reasonable assumptions for ZEV sales growth, market forces will achieve the state’s 2050 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals for greenhouse gas emissions reductions for the light-duty vehicle transportation sector by 2051.

“While the market is unlikely to meet the state’s unrealistic short-term goals, growing intrinsic demand for BEVs and increasing mitigation of consumers’ concerns make it plausible that natural market demand will lead to sufficient growth in BEVs to meet the state’s longer-term goals for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from light-duty vehicles,” said James Hanley, a fellow at the Empire Center and the paper’s author. “It appears that the market will work in meeting the state’s long-term climate goals — that’s why it should be allowed to work without interference.”

Read the full paper here.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.

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