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Exclusive: California probes driving habits of vintage car owners after mulling ‘zero emissions zones’


Daily Caller News Foundation

California is seeking information about the locations of classic cars in the state and the tendencies of their drivers after considering establishing “zero emissions zones,” according to a state survey obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) sent out the survey about light-duty vehicles made in model year 1978 or earlier on Aug. 2, seeking information from respondents about tendencies they have while using the classic vehicles, including the county in which they are primarily driven. The survey on classic cars follows a 2019 CARB draft report which suggests that the state should “provide explicit authority to local jurisdictions to create zero-emission zones” in order to combat climate change.

The survey also asks respondents to specify how many miles are registered on the odometers of their classic cars and approximate annual mileage, as well as the frequency and distance travelled of their cruises. California has the most classic car collectors of any state in the country, according to RotoWire.

2023 California Model Year 1978 or Older Light-Duty Vehicle Survey by Nick Pope on Scribd

A “zero emissions zone” is “an area where only zero-emission vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists are granted unrestricted access” that is intended to help counter climate change, according to The International Council on Clean Transportation.

California is favorable for classic cars because the state’s weather is generally good for their preservation, its scenic views make for enjoyable cruising and there are scores of classic car clubs throughout the state, according to, which ranked California as the best state in the country for classic car owners.

Some advocates of sweeping climate policies assert that older vehicles are worse for the environment because they are less efficient and emit more polluting exhaust than newer vehicles assembled with more modern technology and designed to meet more stringent emissions standards. However, the majority of classic vehicles are not driven for amounts of time or distances to make a substantial negative impact on the environment, and it can take many years for one classic car’s operation to match the carbon footprint caused by manufacturing one new car, according to Provident Protection Plus.

California has mandated that 100% of new car sales are electric vehicles (EVs) by 2035, required that no new diesel-powered trucks will be sold in the state starting in 2036 and some municipalities in the state have banned the construction of new gas stations. These aggressive vehicle policies are aligned with California’s declared goal of achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2045.

Neither CARB nor Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office responded immediately to requests for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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