SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Under President Donald Trump last year, the EPA announced that it would roll back car emissions standards. In spite of this, car companies forged ahead with creating cleaner and more efficient vehicles.

General Motors announced that it will phase out all gasoline cars by the year 2035 and when a multi-national car company makes the decision to reduce its carbon footprint, it affects jobs, technology, and the environment. The reasons for the decision may have to do with future profit. But in a state like Utah, where clean air is important to make residents who live here, the impact can be far-reaching.

Paul Lankford, the General Manager of Jerry Seiner Buick GMC in South Jordan, and Prof. Glen Schmidt with the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. for an IN FOCUS discussion about the business impact of this announcement. Why did General Motors make this decision? What challenges could this present such as issues with the power grid? How will parts and labor jobs be impacted?

Rep. Stephen Handy, Co-Chair of Utah’s Clean Air Committee, discussed the government’s perspective of this subject. With only two percent of cars on the road being electric, where does Utah need to be to make a significant impact on air quality? Should there be tax credits for electric vehicles? What does he think about H.B. 209, which would increase registration fees for electric vehicles?

Grace Olscamp, Policy Associate for HEAL Utah, talked about the research on cars being the biggest polluters in the state, what impact they saw when there was a significant decrease in cars on the road at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what Utahns can do individually to make an impact on the state’s air quality.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Lankford, Prof. Schmidt, Rep. Handy, and Olscamp, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, she embarked on a new journey as the anchor for the CW30 News at 7 p.m. Although she’s not out in the field anymore, she is continuing her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.