State lawmakers pass bill that could phase out gas car sales by 2030

Washington state lawmakers passed a bill Thursday aimed at stopping the sale of gasoline-fueled vehicles statewide starting in 2030.

If signed into law, the bill would make Washington the first state to end the sale of new gas cars. California and Massachusetts have passed similar laws that would take effect by 2035.

The ban would apply to “publicly owned and privately owned passenger and light duty vehicles of model year 2030 or later that are sold, purchased, or registered in Washington state be electric vehicles.”

It passed by a vote of 25-23 in the Senate and 54-43 in the House, and now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk for signature. The bill is contingent on the state adopting a tax on vehicle miles traveled, which would help fund new infrastructure, according to the bill.

The legislation was first introduced by Rep. Nicole Macri (D-Seattle) as HB 1204. It’s the first gasoline phaseout target to make it through the legislative process.

“Passage of this legislation takes the guesswork and uncertainty out of the electric vehicle transition by creating a clear timeline with the data, tools, and guidelines we need to help businesses, developers, governments, and consumers plan with confidence,” Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) said in a press release. “Clean Cars 2030 is a critical step to meet urgent carbon reduction goals here in Washington and can serve as a model and impetus for other states to accelerate the switch to [electric vehicles].”

The legislation coincides with accelerated efforts by the auto industry to move away from gas-fueled vehicles. GM plans to only sell zero-emissions vehicles by 2035, while Ford says it will only sell electric vehicles in Europe by 2030.

Critics of the legislation say that the bill assumes the future of cars is electric-based and that this plan places a large burden on the electrical infrastructure in the state.

“That burden on the electrical infrastructure would require such massive upgrades that the cost could add as much as $10- 15,000 per house. At this point in time, it’s a nice thought. But requiring to do that on a residential scale simply puts housing out of reach,” said Sen. Phil Fortunato (R - Auburn).

Sen. Curtis King (R-Auburn) had a similar concern.

“We have no assurance that every car is going to be all electric. We’re looking now at hydrogen-fueled cell cars. This is making an assumption that’s not necessarily true and it costs. It costs. It costs,” he said.