Washington State Plans To Outlaw Most New Gas Cars
SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 16: Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, joined by King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan hold a press conference to provide details on a temporary statewide shutdown of restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreational facilities to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, on March 16, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Inslee declared a state of emergency in response to new cases of COVID-19 earlier this month. (Photo by Elaine Thompson - Pool/Getty Images)
Elaine Thompson – Pool/Getty Images

Washington state is preparing to ban most new gasoline-powered vehicles within the next eight years.

SB 5974 — a piece of legislation recently signed by Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) — establishes a target that “all 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.” An “interagency electric vehicle coordinating council” created by the new law is directed to “complete a scoping plan for achieving the 2030 target.”

“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 at the bill signing. “This package will move us away from the transportation system our grandparents imagined and towards the transportation system our grandchildren dream of.”

The legislation — dubbed “Clean Cars 2030” — was enacted as part of a $17 billion climate agenda called “Move Ahead Washington.” Other facets of the package include $5.4 billion for “carbon reduction and multimodal expansion,” $2.4 billion for “fish passage barrier removals,” $836 million for “four new hybrid-electric ferries,” and $150 million for “ultra-high-speed rail.”

“We’re investing in projects from rural to urban areas across our state, letting kids ride free on our buses, ferries and trains, and so much more — and all without punting the cost to working families,” State Sen. Marko Liias (D) explained. “I’m eager for residents across the state to have more efficient and safer commutes — no matter how they’re traveling.”

The electric vehicle legislation was signed into law as gas prices have recently reached historic levels. According to AAA, the average national price of regular gasoline has reached $4.225 per gallon, while the price of diesel has reached $5.117 as of this reporting.

Indeed, other governors are passing new legislation in response to the soaring costs. Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA), for instance, wants to send $400 to California residents for each registered vehicle, capped at two vehicles. The governor tied the rise in gas prices to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine — despite price increases that have occurred since President Joe Biden entered office in 2021.

“We’re taking immediate action to get money directly into the pockets of Californians who are facing higher gas prices as a direct result of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” Newsom said in a statement. “But this package is also focused on protecting people from volatile gas prices, and advancing clean transportation – providing three months of free public transportation, fast-tracking electric vehicle incentives and charging stations, and new funding for local biking and walking projects.”

Newsom also rejected Republicans’ bid to pause California’s hefty gas tax because the move would help “petro-dictators and oil companies.” As a letter from the conservative lawmakers explained, “while market forces are responsible for today’s extreme prices, California’s high taxes represent an added burden, and working Californians simply cannot afford gas prices approaching $6 per gallon.”

As of March 31, the average price of gas in California was $5.896 per gallon, according to AAA.

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