By LaKeshia N. Myers
As a child, one of my favorite cartoons was The Jetsons—a show about a family living in the future. The family drove flying cars, had a robot housekeeper, and all sorts of helpful gadgets to make life easier. According to the cartoon’s storyline, George Jetson, the protagonist, is forty years old at the beginning of the series, which is set in 2062. According to the show, George Jetson’s birthdate is July 31, 2022.
I thought about the Jetson birth phenomenon last week when I learned of California’s vote to ban gas cars by 2035. California air regulators voted to approve stringent rules that would ban the sale of new gasoline cars by 2035 and set interim targets to begin a phase-out of gas vehicles. This is the first measure of its kind in the United States and would be one of the first such bans worldwide. It has major implications for the US car market, given how large California’s economy is and that several states are expected to implement similar rules.
According to Experian, after a decade of slow but steady sales growth, electric vehicle registrations in the U.S. increased by sixty percent in the first quarter of 2022, even as overall new car registrations dropped eighteen percent. The sharp increase in electric-vehicle registrations at the start of 2022 meant that the electric vehicle shares of the overall market in the U.S. hit a historic 4.6 percent. I have noticed the slow, but steady uptick in vehicle charging stations popping up across the state as well as friends having specialized electricity ports placed in their garages.
George Jetson will be a teenager in 2035—just in time for us to stop using gasoline. But I’m certain he will live in a world where self-driving vehicles are par for the course, as companies like Tesla, Google, and Domino’s Pizza are already beta testing these vehicles on US roads in larger markets. I wonder if he will grow up feeling like many of my generation—Xennials—we were the last generation to know life prior to the internet but came of age during the digital revolution. Understanding the old but embracing the new.
Fingers crossed, I might just have the chance to see a flying car before I die.