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Washington Follows California in Banning Sale of New Gasoline Cars by 2035

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(The Center Square) — Washington will ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars in the state by 2035, Gov. Jay Inslee said this week.

Inslee made the announcement on Twitter, noting that by year-end the state would adopt California’s rules requiring 35% of new cars sold in the state to be electric or plug-in hybrids by 2026, 68% by 2030, and 100% by 2035.

“This is a critical milestone in our climate fight,” Inslee wrote. “We look forward to partnering with California and the Biden Administration to quickly eliminate our country’s #1 source of GHG emissions.”

In April Washington legislated the goal to achieve zero emissions by 2030. The legislature also enacted a law in 2020 allowing the state to adopt California’s vehicle emissions standards. Now that California has completed rule making for 2035 and beyond, Washington will adopt similar standards, according to Inslee spokesperson Mike Faulk.

“The state Department of Ecology will handle the rule making process. Public comment will likely begin in September,” Faulk told The Center Square via email.

The rule change comes 10 months after six major automakers pledged to stop selling gas and diesel-powered cars worldwide by 2040.

Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Jaguar Land Rover signed on to that pledge in November at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, as did 30 countries and two dozen fleet operators including Uber, according to Car and Driver magazine. The agreement includes discontinuing sales in leading markets by 2035.

Critics point out that it will require a tremendous investment in supply chain and infrastructure development to meet those goals.

For example, it requires mining about 500,000 pounds of earth to produce the minerals required to produce a 1,000-pound car battery, Politico reports. And China now controls about 80% of the supply chain for lithium batteries.

A significant investment in electric infrastructure would also be needed, both in creating charging stations and delivering the electricity required to power millions of electric vehicles.

As of December 2021, Washington ranked third among states in total number of electric vehicles with over 68,000. Currently, there are about 2.8 million vehicles registered in the state. 

In addition to Washington, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington D.C. also follow California’s vehicle emission standards.

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