New Gas-Powered Cars Are Set To Be Banned In Canada & Here's Everything We Know So Far

The ban is now expected five years earlier than planned. 🚗

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Cars on a highway. Right: An electric car at a charging station.

Cars on a highway. Right: An electric car at a charging station.

Get ready to say goodbye to gas-powered cars, Canada! The federal government plans to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars as part of its wider goal of cutting pollution and fighting climate change.

Back in June 2021, the feds laid out a new mandatory target for all new light-duty cars and passenger trucks sold in the country to be zero-emission by 2035.

Initially, officials had set a goal of 2040, but this was brought forward by five years in an effort to "take another important step on the road to net zero."

So, what do we know about the plan so far?

Well, we know that the federal government wants to take on climate change through "bold" policies, including this one.

The move is part of a wider plan to get Canada's economy to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Speaking last year, Canada's then-Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson said cutting transportation emissions "is one of the most readily achievable and economically beneficial paths Canada can take on the road to net-zero emissions by 2050."

What is it going to look like?

Although the ban is coming into effect five years earlier than originally planned, nothing is going to change drastically overnight.

Before mandating that all new light-duty vehicles sold must be zero emission by 2035, the feds have an interim target of "at least" 50% of vehicles sold to be zero emission by 2030.

Officials say that as light-duty vehicles usually remain in service for about 15 years, requiring 100% of vehicles to be zero emission by 2035 will help to move Canada towards its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

While it's unlikely that the feds will stop Canadians privately selling gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035, the new rule will make it much, much harder to purchase a brand-new gas-powered car from a dealership or showroom.

The hope is that it will become increasingly difficult to purchase and sell cars that are not zero emission, therefore encouraging Canadians to consider greener alternatives — such as electric cars — instead.

In a notice shared in December, Environment and Climate Change Canada acknowledged that to achieve its climate goals, emissions will need to be reduced from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles too.

This includes utility vans, delivery trucks, buses, dump trucks and long-haul tractor-trailers, among other commercial vehicles.

It says discussions are ongoing about getting Canada to a target of 100% zero‑emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales, where feasible, by 2040.

What about the practicalities?

To help make the goal achievable, the Government of Canada has laid out a series of investments and regulations.

This includes incentives to help Canadian drivers with the upfront cost of getting a greener vehicle, investments into zero-emission charging infrastructure and helping auto manufacturers "re-tool" to produce greener cars here in Canada.

As of June 2021, more than $1 billion had already been invested into these types of measures.

For those worried about the individual cost of the switch, the feds predict that by 2030, "Zero-emission vehicles will reach price-parity with their gas-powered counterparts."

"As the sale and production of zero emission personal vehicles increases, upfront prices will fall," the government says.

The feds have also acknowledged that "additional mandatory measures that may be needed beyond Canada’s light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas emissions regulations."

So, if you're planning to purchase a new car in the near future, it could be wise to consider a green alternative.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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