OLYMPIA, Wash. — In 2021, Gov. Jay Inslee took criticism for vetoing a measure that would have set a goal to end the sale of new gas-powered cars in Washington by 2030. A year later, he’s now signed an updated version as part of a recently-approved $17 billion transportation package.
Inslee’s 2021 veto was to one facet of SHB 1287, which established publicly available mapping telling drivers where they can access charging and refueling stations for electric vehicles, while mandating electric charging capabilities in all new residential buildings by July 2024.
The part he struck down applied solely to the section regarding the end of sales to new gas-powered cars, which he explained was due to the measure being contingent on having at least 75% of registered vehicles in the state participating in a yet-to-be-completed pay-per-mile road usage charge.
“Transportation is our state’s greatest source of carbon emissions and we cannot afford to link an important goal like getting to 100% zero-emission vehicles to a separate policy that will take time to design and implement,” he said at the time.
No longer tied to the still-unfinished pay-per-mile program, the measure was finally signed into law by Gov. Inslee this last week. In practice, it will operate as the most ambitious gas vehicle phase-out in the nation, mirroring its 2021 version in ending the sale of gas-powered cars by the end of the decade. The next closest state at the moment is California, which has a phase-out goal set for 2035.
Advocates further point to the state’s rising gas prices amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine as an example of how Washington needs to reduce its dependence on oil.
“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,” Coltura Co-Executive Director Matthew Metz said in a press release.
On a larger scale, state Sen. Marko Liias — who chairs the Senate transportation committee — lauded the measure as “a monumental step toward reducing carbon emissions in Washington.”
This story was originally published by MyNorthwest.
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