BERKELEY (KPIX 5) – Looking to cut greenhouse gas emissions, leaders in Berkeley are seeking to sharply reduce the number of gas and diesel vehicles sold in the city.
The Berkeley City Council is reviewing an ordinance proposal that would require 80% of all new cars sold within city limits to be all-electric by 2027.
“We’ve done a lot with clean energy, we’ve done a lot with making our buildings cleaner, but this is one area we haven’t dealt with,” Berkeley City Councilmember Kate Harrison told KPIX 5.
Harrison believes having dealerships move to mostly electric vehicle sales could boost the number of sales within city limits and therefore increase sales tax revenue.
“If we have car dealers that sell these electric vehicles. I’m not going to Marin County to buy my electric vehicle. I’m coming to Berkeley,” says Harrison.
Joe Ahmadieh has owned Auto Doctor, a used car dealership in Berkeley, for 25 years. He questions whether there is enough electric vehicle demand in the market.
“I haven’t actually sold an electric car, ever,” he Amadieh said with a pause.
Harrison says it’s a realistic step toward the city’s goal of being fossil-fuel free by 2030.
“The idea that we’re going to work our way out of this by everyone bicycling and walking is not accurate either. Some people have to have cars, and we’ve got to make those cars green,” she says.
Harrison also pointed out Berkeley was the first city to introduce curbside recycling, prohibiting new construction from using natural gas, and banning single-use plastic bags. She says those initiatives have been adopted by many cities across the state, so while one city limiting the sale of gas vehicles might not do much to reduce emissions, she’s hoping it will set an example for others to do the same.
The proposed ordinance would only apply to new car sales, excluding used vehicles. It’s also in line with Governor Gavin Newsom’s goal of banning the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035.
The city council is expected to address the issue at their meeting next Tuesday.
Additional details about the proposal can be found on the City of Berkeley’s website.