California Vetos ICE Conversion Legislation

Senate Bill 301 set out to establish the Zero-Emission Aftermarket Conversion Project...

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has stated its disappointment that California’s Senate Bill (SB) 301, legislation aimed at incentivizing the conversion of gas and diesel-powered cars into Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs), was vetoed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Authored by California Sen. Anthony Portantino, SB 301 sought to establish the Zero-Emission Aftermarket Conversion Project (ZACP) under the California Air Resources Board (CARB). 

Despite being lauded as a “job creator” by the California Chamber of Commerce and receiving unanimous support from lawmakers, the bill faced a veto at the governor’s desk. The program would have provided rebates of up to $4,000 to California residents undertaking the conversion, with stringent guidelines ensuring compliance with safety, range, and affordability criteria, according to the SEMA announcement.

California boasts several programs promoting new ZEV purchases but lacks support for ZEV conversions of existing gas-powered vehicles, the announcement noted. The setback “hinders the rollout of a program that bolsters cleaner air, reduces carbon emissions and fuels job growth and economic prosperity statewide,” SEMA stated.

With over 149,000 jobs and a significant $40 billion economic impact, the specialty automotive aftermarket stands as a vital contributor to California’s economy. This bill represented a chance to supercharge the industry, aligning seamlessly with the governor’s stated priority of advancing cleaner vehicles.

SEMA is profoundly disappointed by Gov. Newsom’s lack of foresight in vetoing SB 301,” said Mike Spagnola, SEMA’s president and CEO. “This legislation would have advanced environmental sustainability and leveled the playing field for aftermarket conversions while fostering innovation, supporting small businesses, and providing consumers with affordable and sustainable transportation options.”

Spagnola added that SEMA “remains steadfast in its commitment to advocating for policies that promote innovation and sustainability within the automotive industry. While SB 301 may not have secured the governor’s signature this time, SEMA will continue collaborating with lawmakers, stakeholders and the community to advance initiatives that drive innovation.”

Pat Curtin

Pat Curtin is the managing editor of THE SHOP magazine.

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