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Debate over Bill to Halve Gas Use in CA

The Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015, SB 350, which would force petroleum use in California cars and trucks to be cut in half by 2030, is snaking through the California State Assembly toward a vote, prompting acrimonious debate between supporters and opponents.

Capital Public Radio reported that Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, the co-author of the bill, said that his opponents in the oil industry were overreacting to the bill. He asserted that gasoline would still be available and no driving limits would be mandated, adding, “I’m under no illusion whatsoever that oil will be eliminated. That’s just not a reality. It’s not going to happen in the present. It’s not going to happen in the near future or in my lifetime.” CBS Los Angeles quoted de León saying, “Our focus is very clear: to put more money in the people’s pockets so they can save. Who wouldn’t want to save on gasoline? Who wouldn’t want to drive farther on a gallon of gasoline?”

Governor Jerry Brown ripped the oil companies, snapping, “Of course, the people who are going to sell 50 percent less petroleum are not only going to have questions, they’re going ot have a fierce, unrelenting opposition.”

But Beth Miller, a spokeswoman for the California Drivers Association, expressed concern that new standards would entail new fees for drivers of old cars. She stated, “To be able to say to every Californian, we are going to dictate to you what kind of car you should have and how old it is, it’s not something that Californians want to see.”

Western States Petroleum Association President Catherine Reheis-Boyd has said of SB 350, “It gives the unelected California Air Resources Board open-ended authority to adopt mandates by regulation to achieve unrealistic cuts in gasoline and diesel use.”

The bill would also force public utilities to generate half of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.

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