California's clean car ambitions clear first roadblock with Biden win


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California and its clean car ambitions had a lot riding on the US presidential election.

The state's Air Resources Board spent the Trump presidency fighting with the US Environmental Protection Agency about its rollback of Obama-era tailpipe standards, which were set to increase average fuel economy of the US passenger vehicle fleet by 5% annually from 2021 to 2026. The Trump administration slashed these targets to a 1.5% annual increase.

Trump's EPA also moved to revoke California's long-held waiver to set tougher air quality standards than the national limits, and it is still battling that in courts.

The incoming Biden administration, however, means a smoother ride for California's clean car goals.

In September, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an ambitious target to phase out new sales of gasoline-powered cars and passenger trucks by 2035. This zero-emission vehicle policy also set a 2045 goal for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

We have two interviews today on California's clean car ambitions:

* Jennifer McIsaac, lead analyst of emissions and clean energy for Platts Analytics' Future Energy Outlook Service, on the market, policy and logistical challenges ahead.

* John Boesel, president and CEO of CALSTART, a clean transportation nonprofit, about the results of a recent study showing that auto suppliers want policy makers to set strong standards in this area.

Stick around after both interviews for the Market Minute, a look at near-term oil market drivers.

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