California has been making headlines with its progressive energy policies, raising questions about the future of gas motorcycles in the state.
Governor Newsom’s recent push to reduce air pollution has led to the ban of certain engine-powered equipment and set ambitious goals for phasing out gas and diesel vehicles.
With the 2035 deadline for eliminating new gas and diesel passenger car sales, as well as off-road vehicles like dirt bikes and ATVs, many wonder how this will impact the gas motorcycle market.
Let’s explore the implications of these regulations on the motorcycle industry and evaluate the likelihood of a ban on gas-powered motorcycles in California.
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We’re already seeing several U.S. cities planning a ban on gas motorcycles.
Background on California’s Stance on Emissions
California has been at the forefront of implementing stringent emissions regulations for vehicles, including both cars and motorcycles. The state’s progressive policies stem from its continuous efforts to combat air pollution and climate change.
Currently, gas motorcycles are subject to regulations established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
These regulations mandate that motorcycles follow specific emission standards to reduce the release of pollutants, such as hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides.
Over the years, CARB has implemented several updates to these regulations, making them more stringent in order to curb the negative environmental impact caused by conventional internal combustion engines.
In addition to regulating gas motorcycle emissions, California has undertaken several efforts to promote cleaner transportation alternatives. The state has been actively encouraging the use of electric motorcycles, as they produce zero tailpipe emissions.
Incentive programs, such as the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, are in place to promote the use of electric vehicles, including electric motorcycles, as a means to achieve the state’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals.
Moreover, California has established goals to phase out the sale of new gas-powered vehicles in the future.
Although the current focus is predominantly on passenger cars, it is likely that the transition to cleaner alternatives will eventually extend to gas motorcycles as well. The state’s commitment towards reducing emissions and promoting zero-emission vehicles leaves the possibility of future regulations targeting gas motorcycles.
The Movement to Ban Gas Motorcycles
In recent years, there has been a push to create a cleaner transportation system in the United States and globally by phasing out gas motorcycles in favor of electric alternatives.
This movement gained significant traction in California, with proposed legislation, clear timelines, and various stakeholders voicing their support or concerns.
California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) has been at the forefront of setting emission standards for off-road vehicles including dirt bikes, side-by-sides, and ATVs.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in 2020 to ban the sale of new gas-powered passenger vehicles by 2035.
While motorcycles were not explicitly mentioned, the move signaled the state’s commitment to phasing out internal combustion engine vehicles in favor of cleaner alternatives.
Stakeholders and Opinions
As with any major policy change, there are various stakeholders invested in the movement to ban gas motorcycles, with differing opinions.
- Environmentalist groups: These groups argue that transitioning to electric motorcycles will not only help reduce air pollution but also slow down climate change, as the transportation sector accounts for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Electric vehicle manufacturers: Companies producing electric motorcycles and related technology are in support of phasing out gas motorcycles, as it will create a growing market for their products.
- Some government officials: Politicians and policymakers such as Governor Newsom see this as an essential measure to achieve California’s environmental targets and position the state as a global leader in clean transportation.
- Gas motorcycle manufacturers: These businesses are concerned that the push to ban gas motorcycles could harm their industry and potentially lead to job losses.
- Owners of older motorcycles: Some owners worry that the ban could affect them, as there is a proposed plan to ban motorcycles older than 2003 by June 30, 2028.
- Riders concerned about electric motorcycle limitations: Some motorcycle enthusiasts are opposed to the ban due to concerns about the limited range, charging infrastructure, and performance of electric motorcycles compared to their gas counterparts.
Here are the 9 best reasons NOT to ban gas motorcycles.
The movement to ban gas motorcycles in California is an ongoing discussion with a clear goal, but it has several stakeholders with varying opinions.
As the proposed legislation and timelines come closer, it will be important to monitor the unfolding of this initiative and its potential impact on the transportation industry and environment.
Are Other States Following Suit?
We’ve seen several states plan to ban gas-driven cars.
As California has made remarkable steps towards banning gas motorcycles, it raises the question of whether other states are following suit.
By the year 2035, California is planning to phase out the sale of new gas and diesel-burning passenger cars, trucks, and off-road vehicles, including:
- dirt bikes,
- and side-by-sides
Under the federal Clean Air Act, other states in the US have the option to adopt California’s ban on gas-powered vehicles. This would allow them to move towards cleaner and more sustainable forms of transportation as well.
Currently, more than one-third of US states are considering following California’s lead in this regard.
California’s ambitious energy directives show a promising shift towards more environmentally friendly transportation options. If more states adopt similar policies, it could significantly reduce carbon emissions and contribute to combating climate change.
Is Washington pushing a nationwide ban on gas motorcycles?
Washington State has made headlines with its proposal, “Clean Cars 2030.”
This ambitious plan, identified as HB 1204 in the House and SB 5256 in the Senate, aims to permit only vehicles powered by electric motors on the road by 2030. Although the main focus seems to be on passenger vehicles, it may potentially set a precedent for future legislation regarding motorcycles as well.
While the United States has experienced an increase in motorcycle sales, currently around 780,000 units per year, the push towards electric vehicles may cause gasoline-powered motorcycles to face similar restrictions eventually.
Some states like California have already started taking steps towards phasing out gas dirt bikes, as well as passenger cars and trucks, with targets set for 2035.
Looking at international examples, Norway has a published Electric Vehicle policy that states every new car sold in the country should be a zero-emission vehicle by 2025.
Although motorcycles are not specifically mentioned, such policies may have indirect implications on motorcycle manufacturing and usage in the long term.
In conclusion, while Washington State’s “Clean Cars 2030” plan does not explicitly target motorcycles, it does put forth a proactive stance towards electric vehicles.
This may eventually lead other states to consider similar policies, which could impact the sale and usage of gas motorcycles in the future.