HAYWARD — The City Council has given its support to a push to end the sale of all new gasoline-powered vehicles in Hayward and throughout California by 2030, five years before the target date that Gov. Gavin Newsom has set.
Other cities, including Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and San Leandro, also have come out in support of reaching 100% zero-emission vehicle sales in the state within nine years. In addition, Berkeley officials want at least 80% of car sales in Berkeley to be electric within nine years.
The effort to speed up the switch to electric vehicle sales only is being driven by ZEV2030, an Oakland nonprofit that says the accelerated timeline is necessary to curb greenhouse gases and prevent the climate crisis from worsening.
Peter Meyers of ZEV2030 told the Hayward council on July 20 that the fire and explosion in May at the Russell City Energy Center, which is operated by Calpine Corporation of Houston, underscored that public safety depends on a transition to greener energy sources.
The blast at 3862 Depot Road was so powerful it sent a 15-pound metal chunk through the roof of an unoccupied trailer at a transitional housing center for homeless people, some 1,200 feet away from the power plant.
Another piece of metal weighing 51 pounds landed at the city’s Water Pollution Control Facility at 3700 Enterprise Ave., near the power plant.
The explosion and fire showed “how serious of a threat our continued reliance on fossil fuels is to the entire community,” Meyers told the council. “Every opportunity to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels is a fantastic opportunity.”
His organization points to an analysis by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations that found that there were just nine years left to transform the economy and how people travel to avoid the worst of effects of climate change. It’s what led to the statewide campaign.
The Hayward council unanimously supported the resolution without comment.
The goal of securing 100 percent zero-emission vehicle sales throughout California by 2030 is “an aspiration,” Mayor Barbara Halliday said in an interview.
“I hope it happens,” Halliday said. “I don’t think we can do enough right now. And this is a problem all over the world. This is a serious environmental crisis.”
Halliday said she was confident that the switch would be good for Hayward businesses as the vehicle economy changes and more people drive electric vehicles.
The mayor said she drives a hybrid Prius. Her family’s next vehicle purchase will be an electric vehicle, the mayor said.
Thirty-three Hayward city vehicles will need to be replaced by an electric one between 2030 and 2035 if the city takes a more aggressive approach toward climate change, Nicole Grucky, a sustainability specialist with the city, and Erik Pearson, an environmental services manager, said in a report for the council.
Currently, there are 147 public charging stations in Hayward, 30 of which are free, according to PlugShare, a sustainable energy data and infrastructure company.
Newsom signed the executive order to phase out new gasoline-powered cars by 2035 last September. The Hayward resolution calls for the governor, Legislature and the California Air Resources Board to push for the earlier timeline.
According to ZEV2030, General Motors will offer 30 electric vehicles models globally by 2025 and plans to sell only the models by 2035; Ford has pledged to only sell electric in Europe by 2030; and Volvo has transitioned exclusively to electric and hybrid cars and aims to be an exclusively electric car brand by 2030.