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Washington enacts plan to ban non-electric cars by 2030

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Washington State Democrats have enacted a plan that would aim to ban most non-electric vehicles in the state by 2030.

Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a bill last week that sets a target for all vehicles of the model year 2030 or later that are sold, purchased, or registered in the state to be electric.

"On or before December 31, 2023, the interagency electric vehicle coordinating council ... shall complete a scoping plan for achieving the 2030 target," the new law says.

The bill was passed as part of a $16.9 billion "Move Ahead Washington" package signed by Inslee on Friday. The governor said this legislation will combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Transportation is our state’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. There is no way to talk about climate change without talking about transportation," Inslee said in a statement. "This package will move us away from the transportation system our grandparents imagined and towards the transportation system our grandchildren dream of."

Democrats have frequently criticized transportation as one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there's been a 22.9% increase in fossil fuel emissions from transportation between 1990 and 2019, the largest increase of any economic sector.

The sweeping legislation includes funding for several infrastructure projects designed to facilitate a larger transition to electric vehicles, including building thousands of new electric vehicle charging stations. The transportation package will also fund four new hybrid-electric ferries, 25 transit electrification projects, and free fares for riders 18 and younger on public transportation systems, the governor said.

The law was endorsed by environmental groups that seek to end the use of fossil fuels.

"The war in Ukraine and the burden of high gas prices on families demonstrate the importance of ending our dependence on gasoline and preparing for an all-electric transportation future," Matthew Metz, co-executive director of Coltura, a nonprofit that advocates for phasing out the use of gasoline, said. "By targeting 2030 as an end date for the sales of gasoline cars in Washington, Clean Cars 2030 gives confidence to consumers, automakers, utilities, investors, and others that now is the time to go all-in on an all-EV future."

Coltura worked with Washington Democrats to get the bill passed. The lawmakers who supported the bill made it clear that while it only establishes a target for all-electric vehicles by 2030, the plan is to eventually get rid of any vehicle that uses gasoline in Washington.

"Clean Cars 2030 outlines a clear path forward for the future of the electric vehicle transition in our state," state Sen. Marko Liias said. "This part of our Move Ahead Washington plan will create a timeline with the data, tools, and guidelines that every sector from governments to businesses can plan for with confidence."

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