Washington State Department of Ecology proposes rules to phase out gas vehicles by 2035

New standards will require all new passenger vehicles to be EV or other ZEV technology by 2035.

The Washington Department of Ecology is proposing rules requiring all new light-duty cars and trucks sold in Washington to meet zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standards by 2035. The department is accepting public comments on the proposed regulations through Oct. 19.

According to a department news release, Washington will be one of the first states to adopt the ZEV mandate after California’s decision last month to approve its new standards. Under the standards, zero-emission vehicles can include electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid cars and trucks, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

“Switching to zero-emission vehicles is a critical milestone in our climate fight,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “With growing numbers of consumers and manufacturers already making the switch, we’re making sure Washington is ready to seize the benefits of our EV future.”

Transportation emissions are the biggest source of carbon pollution in Washington, accounting for about 45% of total greenhouse gas emissions in our state. Most of that pollution comes from passenger cars and trucks.

A 2020 law passed by the Washington Legislature requires the ecology department to amend the ZEV rules in its clean vehicles program to match those in California and other states moving away from gas- and diesel-powered vehicles. In total, 16 states — representing more than 35% of all national vehicle sales — are adopting these policies.

The new ZEV standards will require manufacturers to sell an increasing percentage of electric and other zero-emission vehicles based on overall sales until reaching 100% by 2035. The standards expand on regulations adopted in 2021, which require about 8% of new vehicles sold to meet zero-emission requirements beginning with model year 2025.

Although the new proposal sets a 2035 deadline for meeting ZEV criteria, Washington is working to make the switch even faster, the news release said. The state transportation package passed earlier this year sets a 2030 target to move away from fossil fuels, and a group of state agencies is developing plans to reach this goal.

“Washingtonians are embracing the transition from cars powered by fossil fuels – there are already more than 100,000 electric vehicles on our roads,” said Laura Watson, ecology department director. “We’ve seen a significant number of new, zero-emission vehicles come on the market in recent years, and we are confident that the technology, production capacity and charging infrastructure needed to make this shift will be there.”

Overburdened communities, particularly those located along major transportation corridors, are expected to benefit most from the decline in tailpipe emissions and improvements in air quality, the news release said.

To help accelerate the shift from cars and trucks powered by fossil fuels, Washington and the federal government offer incentives for drivers who make the switch to electric and other zero-emission vehicles. New ZEVs purchased in Washington for up to $45,000 and used ZEVs purchased for up to $30,000 are fully or partially exempt from state sales taxes. Starting in 2023, the federal Inflation Reduction Act (passed in August) will offer consumers a tax credit of up to $4,000 toward the purchase of a used ZEV and up to $7,500 toward the cost of a new ZEV.

The ecology department is accepting public comments on zero-emission vehicles and the clean vehicles program through Oct. 19.

In addition to requiring 100% ZEVs for new car sales by 2035, the proposed rules include plans to:

– Adopt California’s rules for cleaner heavy-duty engines

– Implement early-action credits for ZEV sales in model years 2023 and 2024

– Institute a one-time fleet reporting requirement.

Submit comments online, by mail or at a public hearing:

Comment online.

– Mail to: Adam Saul
Department of Ecology
Air Quality Program
P.O. Box 47600
Olympia, WA  98504-7600

– Ecology will hold a virtual public hearing at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12. There will be an overview of the proposed rule and a question-and-answer period, followed by public comment.

Register here.

Learn more at the following links:

  1. Are we putting the cart before the horse? I got nothing against EVs quiet powerful decent range. California passed this and the next day asked people not to charge their electric cars. It is estimated California would need to build 20 new large nuclear power plants in the next 13 years to meet power demands. I also worry about the state persecuting gas cars owners with unrealistic taxes and regulations on fuel suppliers making it unaffordable to drive a gas powered car. I don’t plan on ever needing a new car and I would hate to find myself trapped at home in old age because the state has deliberately made operating my car unaffordable. Just food for thought I fully expect Washington to follow California and not against the goal I just don’t think our leaders have thought getting there through.

  2. Hmm. The population in the Puget Sound region is expected to increase by 1.5m by 2050, average temperatures are increasing causing more citizens to install AC, there is a movement to limit the use of natural gas in lieu of electricity for cooking and heating, there is pressure to limit gas-powered yard maintenance devices in lieu of electric options, etc. It all adds up to dramatically increased demand on our limited power infrastructure.
    We really can’t build more dams, and are discussing removal of several Snake River dams to encourage salmon recovery. But doing so would reduce hydropower generating capacity, and the governor has rightly taken the position that the dams shouldn’t be breached unless that capacity can be replaced with alternative energy sources.
    So there are countervailing considerations at play. I’d like to see a holistic plan for how we address all these issues as we consider how to move toward goals such as restrictions on gas-powered cars.

    1. Nuclear, solar, wind, hydro and battery tech. It’s all there and only getting cheaper/better. We just need to get out of analysis mode and implement it or my children’s children will be having the same discussion (albeit it under much more dire and costly circumstances).

      1. The truth is nuclear, solar, wind, hydro and battery tech is actually getting more expensive, and more questionable from an environmental standpoint. Puget Sounder’s want to live their electrified lifestyles and drive their electrified autos,”beep beep”, but want others like Eastern Washingtonians to bear the burden for the infrastructure and environmental damage. And of course, it’s all gonna be paid with free money from “Uncle Joe”?
        How about having a wind farm off Brackets Landing or a nuclear plant in Perrinville? Hey let’s get out of analysis mode. The fantasy that these things are going to end up being a “cheap date” is nonsense.

        1. There‘s no credible/honest study or market analysis that supports the idea that these technologies are getting more expensive.

          And yes, the solution will cost money and it will probably be federally funded (it’s a national issue – global, in fact). The only thing that will cost more is doing nothing at all.

  3. I see the “zero emission vehicles” allowed will include plug in hybrids. A plug in hybrid is not a zero emission vehicle unless it is continually driven in the electronic mode, so I assume there is some contemplation of fossil fuel being available and even needed for some time to come past 2035. Toyota Corp. is not convinced that all electric is the way to go and they are looking very hard at continuing to promote plug in hybrids and hydrogen as the new power source to phase out fossil fuels. All electric vehicles for all town driving make total sense, but I think the jury is far from in on their use for road trips and freight hauling. Climate extremes greatly impact the efficiency of electricity driven vehicles. A/C and Heaters put huge demands on the all battery configuration and tend to defeat potential range.

    1. For general information: my plug-in hybrid Volvo gets 40.9 mpg on the gas engine, but close to 100 mpg when you calculate in the electric driving, which is almost all local. The gas engine kicks in sometimes for 30 seconds or so(charging the12 v battery?) or for fast acceleration or a very steep hill. I fuel it on the average once every two months, and it drinks low octane gas.

      Volvo is developing a solar charger, and I’m in the market some some sort of solar panel for the same purpose.

  4. I heard from a immigrant that in his home country that they were only allowed to use electricity 2 hours a day. I wonder if our leaders in their obsession with getting rid of fossil fuels would consider doing this to us? I wouldn’t put it past them a horse and buggy might be a good investment maybe we should push for allowing people to own horses on smaller lots and allowing them on the roads. Can’t get gas for the car can’t get electricity for the other kind of car seems they are stead fast in limiting our mobility.

  5. I think the 1.5 million of new people is low. If we take 2 million a year from the boarder and 3 million from legal immigration divided by 50 gives you 100 thousand a year minimum plus any growth from citizens moving here plus any population gain through childbirth. It could be 2.5 million most of which will need to live in the central Puget sound region. What are all these people going to do in a world that needs less workers have my leaders gone crazy? Oh and how much energy are all these people going to use because that is the topic?

  6. People are leaving California in droves due to the gross mismanagement by their politicians and administrative state. All you have to do is look to what has happened to the major cities in California , seen the recent “northern bleed” of their policies in Oregon ( Portland ) and Washington ( Puget Sound metroplex ) and ask yourself , why would any thinking person want anything imported from California ( policy wise ) ? We have neither the sources, the infrastructure , or for that matter, the desire ( but for eco-wackos and climate alarmists ) that warrant any of the proposals coming out of Olympia via California.

    1. I wonder if you could define “eco-wackos” and “climate alarmists “ for us? Most people who have spent a lifetime outdoors as I have, have seen undeniable deterioration in our ecology, from drastically receding glaciers and increasingly dirtier and less snow, to polluted lakes and rivers, an unprecedented and increasing amount of plastics, micro and otherwise, found now almost everywhere, not to speak of our rivers and reservoirs drying up. Is it somehow “whacko” to be concerned about these things? Then I guess I’m a whacko.

      Similarly, we are seeing almost daily increase of “once in a hundred years” storms, floods, draughts, famines, receding ice caps. Is it for some reason “alarmist” to see these things as a threat? We see beach houses being swept away by rising high tides and unprecedented storms. Am I an “alarmist” if I decide not to buy a house on the beach or very near a river?

      I guess if we want to get worked up about something without really being very specific, then calling people “whacko” and “alarmist” works and folks will get so freaked out they’ll forget to ask for an explanation.

  7. I don’t think you are whacko. I think cut trees for concrete buildings plastics are used in these walls and no green spaces to retain water is whacko. I think trying to over populate any area is whacko when there are other places in our country to live. Said for years don’t pay for people to build on rivers on stilts as they know the dangers. Did it. And were rescued economically for their ignorance. When you build on a cliff, a beach but in the same breath you say the water level is rising and don’t expect sink holes to appear that is whacko. FL. When developers don’t realize that the water table is uh too close so you need more money to make a Rec area ok for awhile. That is whacko too. When you expect people who do not make a living wage in an area of opulence to spend 45,000. for a car when they can barely afford food that too is whacko. Gore warned right. I de- plasticized years back. I avoid stores with goods enclosed in plastic. I don’t buy plastic or resin. Created water sheds and all organic here.

  8. It’s all just a money grab. Three environmental hero’s of the left lead by their hypocrisy. O’bama, Gore and Kerry have zero in common with the average citizen.
    Obama with the rising tides lives in a mansion on the water, Kerry flys all over the world in his private jet spouting his nonsense and Gore runs enough electricity in his mansion to light up a city neighborhood.
    Washington politicians following California’s lead is nothing but the crazy following the crazy. Without petroleum and Nuclear power it is a lost cause. Wind, Solar and Cow farts won’t get it done.

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