Washington State has passed a bill setting the most aggressive timeline for phasing out sales of new gasoline vehicles in the United States, aiming to accomplish that by the 2030 model year.
That’s substantially earlier than the 2035-calendar-year target set by California Governor Gavin Newsom in an executive order last year. The Washington bill is also the first target for phasing out gasoline vehicles to be passed through the normal legislative process, rather than an executive order.
Dubbed Clean Cars 2030, the bill covers passenger cars and light-duty trucks, but excludes emergency vehicles and vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds. Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are considered “electric” for the purposes of this legislation.
The bill also calls for a road-usage charge, so that the state continues to have revenue for infrastructure, gradually replacing the gas tax. Such a fee has already been pilot tested in Washington.
I-5 traffic in Seattle
This will be quite a turnaround for the state, which a few years ago, before adopting California zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standards, saw very low EV availability despite strong demand.
Setting a goal is an important first step, but implementation of a ban on new gasoline vehicles will be another matter.
California has acknowledged that its goal will take some extra pushes, but officials have laid out a few next steps, such as making ride-hailing all-electric. EV industry group Veloz has already rolled out a splashy campaign that aims to break down barriers to EV adoption in support of California’s 2035 goal.
California officials have also started pushing the Biden administration to begin planning a national phaseout of gasoline vehicles. That’s unlikely to happen anytime soon, but with New Jersey and Massachusetts proposing phaseouts of their own, it’s possible more states will join California and Washington.