The state of California is, and has been, a staunch supporter of electric cars and tight regulations aimed at curbing car emissions in order to reduce pollution. Most of its programs and initiatives have supported the sale of electrified cars in general, but the state may take a much bigger, more worrying step.

It started last fall when California Governor Jerry Brown expressed interest in potentially banning the sale of cars powered by internal combustion engines as part of a long-term goal to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Things have since progressed as on Wednesday Democratic Assemblymember Phil Ting introduced a bill that if passed would ban the sale of vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine.

The bill, known as the Clean Cars 2040 Act, proposes that all vehicles sold in the state from 2040 must be zero-emission vehicles, meaning plug-in hybrids would also be banned. There are some exceptions, though. The bill does not apply to commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds. Some extended-range electric cars may also be excluded.

"We’re at an inflection point,” Ting said in a statement. “We’ve got to address the harmful emissions that cause climate change."

California would follow the Netherlands, Norway, France, the United Kingdom, India, and China if it were to introduce its own ban on the sale of new cars powered by fossil fuels. China, however, hasn't revealed a set date for its ban to take effect, but it floated 2040 as a potential start date. It may be later, according to some industry analysts.

The potential for California to follow the Asian and European countries would have just as much of an impact, too. More cars are sold in California than any other state. In fact, more cars are sold in the state than in some major countries such as France.

Thus, a ban on internal combustion engines would affect automakers in profound ways as they would have to adjust their vehicle portfolios to embrace electric and fuel cell cars more quickly than many plan to at present. Already, the Association of Global Automakers has cast doubts on California's interest in banning internal combustion engines. It argued that consumers must be able to afford the electric cars required to meet emission and climate goals.