In a stunning decision, Maine opted out of joining a growing list of states tethering their vehicle standards to the California Air Resource Board (CARB)’s Zero-Emissions Vehicle Rule.

In a 4-2 vote, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection rejected the Advanced Clean Car II Act to mandate that 82% of new vehicles sold in Maine be electric by 2032. This standard is even more stringent than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s newly finalized electric vehicle (EV) rule—an equally punitive regulation mandating car manufacturers to sell mostly electric vehicles, 67% of new cars, by 2032. 

Board member Bob Marvinney, a former state geologist, told the local NPR affiliate that EVs being clean cars is a misnomer. He said, “I just never liked the terms ‘clean energy’ and ‘clean cars’ because every source of energy has its impacts and it’s environmental concerns…And every vehicle does. So we are shifting from one type of impact to another.”

Seventeen states, including Virginia, are currently yoked to CARB’s Zero-Emissions Vehicle rule—a law that requires 100% EV sales by 2035. Many states will likely come to regret opting into California’s law with waning support for EVs and poor diminishing returns on EV stocks. As I explained at IWF earlier this week, EV euphoria was more like a mirage: 

In January, there was a major sell-off of EV stock, with some stocks depreciating as high as 90% from their peak. Overall, the investment journal Barron’s reports the EV bubble—or more accurately, the EV mirage—has cost investors $1.5 trillion. Ouch. 

CNBC heralded this EV fallout with the bold declaration: “EV euphoria is dead.”

In response to this news, the Biden administration should do a course correction on their EV mandate—but likely won’t. The White House is expected to deploy Albert Gore III, former Vice President Al Gore’s son and executive director at Zero Emission Transportation Association, to push more EV adoption. 

Nevertheless, Maine’s decision to opt out of California’s mandate is a victory for consumer choice and energy security.