Aug 26, 2022 - News

Washington will ban new gas-powered cars in 2035, joining California

Gas nozzle dripping.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Washington will follow California's lead, banning the sale of new gas-powered cars starting in 2035.

Driving the news: California's decision to phase out gas-powered vehicles is having a ripple effect, triggering a process by which Washington must enact the same rules.

  • That's because in 2020, state legislators passed a law tying Washington's vehicle emissions standards to California's.

Details: The policy approved Thursday by California's Air Resources Board doesn't require the removal of all gas-powered cars from the road starting in 2035.

  • But it will end the sales of new gas-powered vehicles starting then.
  • Drivers won't be punished for continuing to drive older gas-powered vehicles after the deadline, said state Sen. Joe Nguyen (D-Seattle), who sponsored the law linking Washington's rules to California's.
  • "This is a phase out," Nguyen told Axios Thursday. "Nobody is taking your cars."

What they're saying: In a statement shared with Axios, Gov. Jay Inslee said Washington is poised to implement the same rules as California by the end of the year.

  • The governor said it's vital that states and the federal government join together to cut emissions from transportation, the country's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The other side: Mike Ennis, a lobbyist with the Association of Washington Business, told Axios Seattle that the state should focus on incentivizing people to switch to EVs, rather than imposing mandates. The business lobby group opposed the law linking Washington’s emissions rules to California’s back in 2020.

  • Meanwhile, a Republican lawmaker, state Rep. Andrew Barkis of Olympia, told Axios the policy’s adoption through rule-making — rather than through a new bill in the Legislature — was “circumventing the process.”
  • “I just think Washington should stand on its own— it shouldn't be following Oregon and California — but that’s what the governor loves to do,” said Barkis, the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee.

What's next: The state Department of Ecology must go through a rule-making process to finalize the details of Washington's phase-out plan.

  • A spokesperson said the agency will propose a new rule on Sept. 7.
  • The public will then be able to comment, with final adoption expected by December.
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