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Will The Gas Vehicle Bans In California And Washington Affect RVers?

This post was updated on July 3rd, 2023

Navigating the Oncoming Ev World as An RVer

The effects of climate change have been felt on the West Coast for the last ten years in the form of extreme weather events and unprecedented forest fire seasons. California and Washington state governments have responded to climate change by announcing gas vehicle bans that will come into effect as early as 2030. In 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom said he planned to aggressively move the state away from climate-changing fossil fuels while spurring both jobs and economic growth.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change. For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”

Governor Gavin Newsom, Governor of California

The bans in both states will affect the sale of new passenger cars and light trucks under 8,500 lbs. This will affect some Class B motorhomes and possibly smaller Class C motorhomes. But, there aren’t all that many Class Bs and Cs under 8,500 lbs. 3/4 ton trucks and Class A RVs that run on gas or diesel will still be allowed at least until 2045. So far the new regulations are expected to decrease car and light truck emissions by a significant 50%. Click here to read the executive order. While Washington’s gas vehicle regulations are still being shaped at this time, their current proposals may be the strictest: They won’t even allow residents to buy new gas vehicles (2030 models or later) outside the state. How are these new regulations going to affect RVers?

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Will You Be Able to Drive Your Rv in California or Washington?

It’s important to note that these laws affect the sale of NEW vehicles, not current ones. People will still be able to buy, sell, and drive gas or diesel-powered cars manufactured before 2030 in Washington and 2035 in California. To that effect, there will be no restrictions on driving through those states with an internal combustion engine (ICE)

Heavy-duty pickups won’t be affected until 2045. Although the legislation doesn’t expressly describe them, sales of new large ICE Class A RVs will probably be banned in 2045 too. However, the bans won’t prevent people from driving gas-powered vehicles.

What’s in Store?

As state governments move to make zero-emission electric vehicles feasible for drivers by providing funding and accessible charging stations, vehicle manufacturers of all types have been taking note. Chevrolet anticipates the availability of an all-electric Silverado in 2023. In 2022, Ford and Tesla introduced all-electric pickup trucks to a buying public eager to snap them up. It’s noteworthy that the 2022 Ford Lightning F150 pickup had over 100,000 preorders.

General Motors announced last year it will make only electric vehicles by 2035. Volkswagen has said 55% of its U.S. sales will be electric by 2030. Last month, Ford announced the company is on track to make more than 2 million electric vehicles by the end of 2026, and it plans to spend $50 billion on EVs by then.

Paul Rogers. (August 25, 2022). Q&A: How will California’s ban on new gasoline cars affect me?

RV manufacturers have been toeing the waters of EV production to meet the ever-growing market for electric RVs. Hymer and Winnebago have introduced futuristic electric concept vehicles. Thor has also entered the EV space with the “Thor Vision Vehicle.”

Another interesting thing to note is that three all-electric semi trucks are coming to the market soon. Tesla claims they will roll out semi trucks with 500 miles of range by the end of 2022. Volvo Trucks and Nikola Inc. have also launched electric big-rigs and small commercial models with 350-mile capacities. As major RV manufacturers start to get their hands on larger electric chassis, we could see all-electric Class A motorhomes hitting the market within the next decade.

Would you be interested in an electric RV? Let us know in the comments.

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46 thoughts on “Will The Gas Vehicle Bans In California And Washington Affect RVers?”

  1. And how many campgrounds will have mega chargers for the new EV motorhomes because they will most certainly need them along with the electrical infrastructure to support them. Think prices are high now? They will certainly quadruple then.

  2. Electric vehicles are improving but are not yet ready for full use.
    Batteries are finite and replacement is prohibitive
    Disposal of batteries is insufficient.
    Power grid will be inadequate.

  3. I refectorio the promise of your opening statement as it pertains to forest fines. California ‘s forest fire problem is caused by poor timbre management. Regulations prohibiting the removal of trees, dead or dying, resulting in copious amounts of fuel for fires results in castrophic fires. Climate has little to do withbit.

    • Thanks for reading. You are absolutely correct that forest management is a large contributing factor, and climate change is certainly not the sole factor. However, as Natasha Stavros at NASA states, “Climate affects how long, how hot and how dry fire seasons are…As the climate warms, we’re seeing a long-term drying and warming of both air and vegetation.” So while climate change isn’t the sole reason for the size of the wildfires, it can’t be discounted as a contributing factor delivering the conditions needed for longer and more dangerous wildfire seasons.

      Thanks again for being a Camper Smarts reader.

      • Continuing this thought – current levels of wildfire acreage burned is less than 10% of what is was back in the 1920’s and 1930’s – when CO2 levels were much lower (closer to the plant life death level). For example – in 1930 over 52 millions acres burned throughout the West, while less than 5m acres burned in 2020. Just check Wikipedia. Some historical perspective is in order before inaccurate and inflammatory statements are made.

        • Absolutely correct that data looks like it was extremely higher in the 20s and 30s. The data isn’t the full story. The forest service has since come out to state that the data before about 1955 is not accurate. The numbers were inflated for several reasons.

          1. The forest service at the time took a hard stance against prescribed burns which was hotly contested in many states that really needed them. But having more muscle, the forest service in the 1900s decided to count all prescribed burns as forest/wildfires. Most of the controlled burns and acres of brush they cleared did not get out of control, but all of those fires and acreage were counted. The idea was to inflate the numbers to buy more lobbying power to force states to stop prescribed burns.

          2. Counting methods were also flawed and the data has a lot of double counting for the early 1900s.

          3. According to New Geography, “The Forest Service reluctantly and with little publicity began to reverse its anti-prescribed-fire policy in the late 1930s. After the war, the agency publicly agreed to provide fire funding to states that allowed prescribed burning. As southern states joined the cooperative program one by one, the Forest Service stopped counting prescribed burns in those states as wildfires. This explains the steady decline in acres burned from about 1946 to 1956.”

          4. Early data was actually so bad that Under the George W. Bush Administration, the U.S. Forest Service and other federal government agencies largely purged all records and information about wildfire acre burned stats from before the period of 1960. In 2021 the government withdrew its original dataset, and now only provides counts starting in 1983.

          The best experts can say is that severity of wildfires is most likely on par with what they were in the earlier part of the last century. We are also much better at fighting them now. The difference is that we are experiencing longer, hotter, and dryer years leading to overall longer fire season windows than in the past. The cause of this is largely threefold; A buildup of fuel due to previous forest management strategy, dead trees due to pine beetle infestations, and the increasingly warmer/dryer/longer seasons.

          (When is California fire season?)
          (Wildfires in All Seasons? USDA)

          Thanks for being a Camper Smarts reader.

  4. What everyone seems ro be forgetting is where electricity comes from. And add that to the fact California recenlty had “flex alerts” where citizens were requested to cut electricity usage , INCLUDING CHARGING OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES. So if the power grid still cant handle a heat wave and energy consumption needs to be reduced, what purpose does it serve to go electric for vehicles????

    • Shouldn’t be affected. Most people charge at night at home and charging stations use solar panels and also charge at night to refill their batteries.

      • Also, more and more people are adding solar panels to their homes, and all new home construction in Calif require solar panels to their roofs. Soon many neighborhoods will be adding to the electrical grid overall rather than taking. With the amount of sunshine in SoCal, it should start to see an over abundance of electricity.

    • May I add the cost to replace EV Batteries.
      It will cost 20-30 thousand to replace your EV Batteries every
      60-80 thousand miles.

  5. One of the key issues is, how long will it take to charge the vehicle? I can fill the tank on my Chevy Silverado 3500HD in less than five minutes. I don’t think you can do that with batteries.

  6. Good luck finding charging station for everyone. Start saving now for replacement batteries. I would prefer a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

  7. Does going all electric mean that gas vehicles won’t be able to fing gas stations in those states? Looks like everyone without an electric will be moving out of those states in droves.

    • No, gas stations will still be there. The entire population would have to all buy new cars at once for gas to be irrelevant. Most people keep their cars for quite some time. The laws don’t ban the sale or driving of gas vehicles manufactured before 2035. So there will be plenty of gas cars zooming around to keep the gas stations in business. Eventually, they would be phased out, but that would most likely take a while for millions of people to replace their cars over decades of time.

      Thanks for being a Camper Smarts Reader.

      • With all due respect, your first sentence is a bold statement given the progressive push to ban ICE vehicles. Cities in California are already banning or are seriously considering banning the approval to build new gas stations, including the state’s largest city, Los Angeles.,city%20of%2060%2C000%20in%20the%20North%20Bay%20region.

        • Thanks for your comment, I did not previously know about the information you shared. I always like learning new things. Regarding my comment, however, I apologize if the implication was that gas stations wouldn’t dwindle eventually. It would stand to reason, though, that seekers of new vehicles will be finding that ICE choices are limited in the near future whether they live in a state with similar bans or not because many car manufacturers have stated that they will no longer be producing ICE vehicles within the next decade, or they will dramatically reduce the number they are producing. Therefore, if the number of new ICE vehicles from let’s say 2026 to 2040 will rapidly decline due not wholly on bans, but because car manufacturers aren’t making them, the need for new gas stations would not be needed as the current fuel infrastructure (which can be maintained for quite some time) largely supports the current number of ICE vehicles. Eventually, either hydrogen fuel cell cars or electric cars will most likely outnumber ICE vehicles on the road, this will take at least a decade or two though most likely. At which point we are likely to see gas stations start to either switch to hydrogen or electric fueling, or be phased out.

          So, you are absolutely right that California probably won’t be installing new gas stations. But I have not yet seen evidence that suggests California or any state is planning on reducing the number of gas stations that already exist anytime soon. Therefore, if the fuel infrastructure exists to drive around California now, it will still exist to do so in 2035 or 2040 and beyond until such a time that electric/hydrogen greatly outnumber ICE engines. As far as what the transition will do to gas prices, on the other hand, I have no idea, and at the moment most economists are saying it’s hard to predict.

  8. Living in California, it is easy to see our electrical grid will not support wide spread EV charging for a generation or more. A local man who works for Interstate trucking said his company bought 2 $400,000 Volvo EV big rigs. They where promised 360 mile range and the best they could get was 75 miles. There is a great video on youtube of a comparison of a Ford Lightning EV 1/2 Pickup and a Chevy Sierra Gas pickup towing identical 6000 lb trailers from Longmont, CO to Colorado Springs. The EV pickup made it 85 miles.

  9. Not interested in electric RV’s. Too many mileage/time restrictions. Fire Danger is increasing with increased vehicles. We’re being forced into a lifestyle that is Not wanted at this time. Will just get out of RV Life. Sad for all the campgrounds, tourist industry, etc unless this madness in put in check now.

    • I couldn’t agree more. I have no interest in ANY electric vehicle. I have direct experience with them from my former job (now retired). They were pretty useless in our climate (northeast). If Americans are forced to go electric, we better all get ready for drastic lifestyle changes. The way we travel now will be a thing of the past. Hopefully, the reality of EVs will eventually sink in as more people try them out and see their limitations. If not, I hope that my wife and I can get as much traveling done as possible with our 3/4 ton pickup and travel trailer before that enjoyment comes to a halt.

    • You said it all. There goes the tourist industry in California and Washington. California has already had to change there stand once because of pressure from their tourist industry.

  10. Electric has its place, power brown outs will effect those purchases. I’m looking forward to Hydrogen combustion engines. Much like current CNG and Propane combustion engines, fueling stations are being builtup…

  11. Does the governor of California in Washington state also realize the power companies needed to recharge electric vehicles are also big polluters? What about the batteries for these electric vehicles what do we do with them when they’re no good anymore? As of right now they’re not recyclable. They need to think about all these things before they start pushing these agendas. I understand wholeheartedly about climate change and how it affects us in a negative way but to demand people use electric vehicles to try and prevent it it needs more work than just electric vehicles.

  12. No I am not interested in an EV vehicle. They’re not feasible for travelling across North America we are not Europe.

  13. So if no one is building nuclear power plants where is all the electricity going to come from to charge all these batteries? California already has scheduled brown outs and are telling folks to limit charging during evening hours. EVs are the wave of the future but we need to generate way more electricity. No one is talking about that. And it’s not coming from solar farms or windmill farms.

  14. The main advantage of EVs as I see it is that they reduce pollution in cities (and in the southern California and LA basins). I use the RV to travel the country so I do not see an advantage for an RV.

  15. Cities and towns across America are ALREADY suffering electric power shortages… with this added demand, how are they planning to recharge all these vehicles?? Just doesn’t make sense.
    This is just an agenda to convince us to allow the return of nuclear power plants… which would eventually be the demise of us all. If you look at the water cooling requirements for these plants, you can see that we are simply replacing one problem with another far greater one!

    • Newer nuclear reactor designs have dramatically reduced the cooling water requirements, including improvements in cooling tower design and operation. If the USA is going to “need” low carbon /renewable dispatchable and 24 hour available power sources, nuclear is one very safe way to accomplish that.

      US does not use the unsafe “Chernobyl” design, nor the Fukashema Japan installation practices.

  16. One major effect that result for RV’s and gasoline cars and trucks will be a scarcity of available gasoline in these states and we should expect to pay a healthy premium when we find gas. We’ll be looking back at the good old days when a gallon of gas only cost $5.00 and wishing for them to return.

  17. California needs to fix their power grid first. The recent extreme weather required the state to have rolling black outs as people were using too much electricity to stay cool. If they can’t handle that, how do they expect to handle everyone trying to charge their electric cars? Just because they are not allowing combustion engines does not mean they will reverse or stop climate change. The damage is already evident with extreme weather. They can expect more extreme weather so what about fixing the grid to handle it?

  18. The EV craze is just what it is . Nationwide generic charging stations are needed first. Technology to have faster charging capability and longer range should be a priority. What we have now is a bad case of the cart ahead of the horse !

  19. I have no objections to EV’s but the electric grid is not ready for them yet. We’re at least 20 years from being ready. Having just crossed the US twice in three months I can confirm that the charging stations are just not there and the ones that are there take many hours to charge a vehicle for a full day’s drive. Ford’s lightning Pickup can barely make 80 miles pulling a small trailer before needing 12 hours to fully charge. I can only image how long it would take to drive an electric RV across country.

  20. Instead of dictating the method, why not just focus on the desired/needed result: [real] zero tailpipe emissions (not computer- readings ala Volkswagen scandal.) Then let engineers/inventors/dreamers come up with ways to get there. This should give us multiple options.
    As has been noted, EVs have their own drawbacks, not least of which is an already dangerously inadequate power grid. (Who knows, maybe they can figure a way for diesel/gas engines to work!?)

  21. What precious metals are mined for EV manufacturing? How, where and by whom are they mined? What is the environmental and human social impact of mining these rare metals? These are the questions that everyone should be asking.

  22. Whether they close coal and gas plants and replace them with sufficient solar and wind sources, or we finally solve the other issues such as destroying the earth mining the minerals needed for the batteries, the major issue remaining is that the cables coming from the power source to the homes are not sized for the extra power needed to charge ev batteries. The government website on electric cars recommends installing an extra 50 or 100 amp panel to power the charging station. The existing cables are sized for a 200 amp panel with a small margin. Adding another 100 amps need isn’t gonna do it. I like EV’s, however, I’ll bypass the political science of fear and wait for the real science to solve the problem logically and correctly.

  23. Yes, I look forward to, and am optimistic about, the future of electric RVs, and the evolution away from fossil-fuel based vehicles (and electricity production).. The open debatable question is not if but when, and how fast the change will occur.

    The nation’s infrastructure, including the electrical grid(s), will most certainly grow to meet increasing demand.

    The technological improvements that will support heavy trucking and transport changes (per the article, required for new truck sales by 2045, 23 years from now) will also enhance the RV industry and our enjoyment of the outdoors.

    These days, I appreciate not stopping every few miles to rest and water the horses, or adding water and fuel to the steam-engine train.

    I hope I am still kicking the dust yet in 2045 and later to see some of these changes.

  24. The governing bodies should start thinking about more electrical generating capacity. Spending millions/billions on just charging stations will not solve the problem of charging your EV. Power (electrical) has to be fed to these charging stations.

    • EVs do typically have a reduced range in the cold but how much depends on the person, according to “Do EVs lose range because of how the cold affects the battery? No, according to Consumer Report’s “Buying An Electric Car for a Cold Climate? Double Down on Range.” ALL cars, both gas and electric struggle in cold weather. The increased amount of energy needed is what drains the battery, not the fact that it’s cold. Any factor that significantly uses more power than normal would affect range.”

      Many EV cars turn the climate control on before departure while plugged in, this would preheat the cabin with power from the wall and not the battery. According to tests, running the heater full blast in a cold car uses a lot of power.

  25. I think electric RVs are potentially a viable alternative by 2035 as battery technology is advancing rapidly. I agree with some posts above that hydrogen eventually may be a better alternative. Given that I’mpushing 70, I think both technologies will be in their “childhood” stages during my lifetime.

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