Connecticut Becomes 2nd CARB State to Not Adopt California's EV Mandate

tesla model s recharging station in connecticut
Connecticut Will Not Transition to EVs by 2035Robert Nickelsberg - Getty Images

As demand for electric vehicles slows, Connecticut lawmakers have discarded plans to follow California into requiring all new cars sold in the state to be electrically powered by the middle of next decade.

Citing a lack of support for the more aggressive deadline, Connecticut's Democratic leadership left out California’s mandate to require all new cars to be equipped with electric or plug-in hybrid engine technology by 2035 from the Constitution State's long-awaited EV bill. This move follows the Biden administration’s decision to defer adoption of the federal EV transition timeline, which is significantly less aggressive than the California plan.

“For people that were skeptical that we could meet the harder standard, and then you have the president and the White House saying they cannot meet the lower standard, you can imagine how that caucus would have gone,” Connecticut House speaker Matt Ritter told CT Insider. “It’s like saying, if we can’t hit the 40 mph fastball, how’re we going to hit the 80 mph fastball?”


Following the California Air Resources Board (CARB)’s 2022 decision to phase out gas-powered cars for electric or hybrid vehicles by 2035, Connecticut Republicans began to mobilize voters and lawmakers to oppose the adoption of these standards. Now that the regulations are officially off the new EV bill, Connecticut will default to the more generous federal standards set by the EPA.

As lawmaker support for stringent electric vehicle requirements falters, automakers have begun to move away from basing their futures around EV manufacturing. Manufacturers such as Cadillac have announced plans to continue manufacturing gas-powered vehicles into the near future, moving away from previously established deadlines for all-electric lineups.

"What we saw in '21 and '22 was a temporary market spike where the demand for EVs really took off," Marin Gjaja, chief operating officer of Ford Model e, told CNBC in March. "It's still growing but not nearly at the rate we thought it might have in '21, '22."

California has long been a leader in environmental regulations, and has set the table for several other states to follow in its footsteps when it comes to automotive regulations, with Connecticut agreeing in 2004 to comply with California’s clean air standards alongside over a dozen other states. But as demand for EVs fails to match expectations and automakers argue that a quick transition is too aggressive, Connecticut's move suggests the alliance of states following California’s EV guidelines could be weakening.

After all, Connecticut isn’t the only state where lawmakers and constituents are questioning the California standards. Virginia will also drop out of the California EV mandate at the end of this year. “The idea that government should tell people what kind of car they can or can’t purchase is fundamentally wrong,” Virginia's Republican governor Glenn Youngkin said in his June 5 statement on the decision.

With the strict California standards pushing ahead to meet the 2035 deadline and the looser federal standards being further delayed, the gap between the two paths to EV adoption is widening. Connecticut and Virginia have made their decisions; it will remain to be seen if other states follow them out.

You Might Also Like