University of San Diego

San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law


Erin Hudak

Library of Congress Authority File


The effects of climate change are becoming more and more obvious every year, evidenced by extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and increased global temperature. In an effort to mitigate the damage caused by greenhouse gases, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a goal to have all new passenger vehicles sold in California be Zero-Emission Vehicles (“ZEVs”) by 2035. This Article explores the possible legal issues that California’s ZEV mandate faces now and may face in the future. First, California will likely face a federal preemption challenge under the Clean Air Act. Second, the California Air Resources Board’s authority to mandate ZEVs may be challenged under California administrative law. Third, assuming the ZEV mandate passes both federal and state scrutiny, the ancillary building codes associated with ZEV charging may lead to legal challenges at the municipal level. This Article explores the legal arguments that will likely be presented by both opponents and proponents of the ZEV mandate if any of these issues are brought to court.