The State of Washington is poised to become the first state to ban the sale of new vehicles with internal combustion engines by the end of the decade.
Governor Jay Inslee, an advocate of EVs, signed the bill after he previously vetoed an almost identical bill last year because it came to his desk with an amendment that would assess motorists for every mile they traveled on state roads.
When, in a surprise, he vetoed the transportation bill in 2021, Inslee said, “achieving a goal of 100% electric vehicles is too important to tie to the implementation of a separate policy like the road usage charge.”
The new bill, which includes money for hybrid-electric-powered craft for state’s fleet of ferry boats, replacing a key bridge along I-5 and for mass transit, including free fares for anyone under 18, defers action on any kind road usage fee.
“There is no way to tackle climate change without tackling transportation and that’s what these bills do,” Inslee said. “In this package, we’re entwining the ability to get better, more efficient transportation with the way to save our climate.”
The legislation gets around the fee issue by creating by an interagency electric-vehicle coordinating council, led by the Washington state departments of commerce and transportation, according to analysis of the bill.
The bill does not include an increase in the state gasoline taxes.
The legislation makes Washington the first state to ban the sales of vehicles with internal combustion engines by the end 2030. It does include exceptions for vehicles weighting more than 10,000 pounds and for emergency vehicles.
Climate legislation stalled
California, New Jersey and Massachusetts have adopted bans on the sales of electric vehicles after 2035. California’s ban, however, was done by executive order and does not have the teeth of the Washington law, which is considered one of the most sweeping pieces of legislation adopted in the U.S. to fight climate change.
Similar bans on the sales of ICE cars have been instrumental in pushing automakers into expanding the production and sale of EVs.
The U.S. Congress has approved a major piece of legislation to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, which includes sweeping for provisions for encouraging the expansion of the electric charging network across the U.S.
Legislation expanding the $7,500 tax credit for purchasers of new electric vehicles, which was part of President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan has been blocked in Congress.