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California ban on gas-fueled cars spells trouble for Japan automakers

Toyota and Subaru scramble to fit electric vehicles into US strategy

Freeways surround downtown Los Angles. California is the largest auto market in the U.S., with 1.89 million vehicles sold last year.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- California's decision to ban sales of gasoline-powered passenger autos in 15 years presents a challenge for Japanese carmakers that hold a nearly 50% share of the market there but lag behind European counterparts in zero-emissions vehicles.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday directing the California Air Resources Board to draw up regulations requiring all new passenger autos sold there to be zero-emissions by 2035. This makes it the first state in the U.S. to set a specific timeline for ending sales of gasoline-powered vehicles.

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