The Washington State Legislature is moving swiftly to create a cleaner transportation system, with potentially enormous impacts on demand for gasoline, the states biggest source of carbon emissions. Today, the Senate voted 26-23 to pass SB 5811, a bill that would enable Washington to join the national Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) program. Additionally, a bill requiring all new vehicles sold in the state to be electric by 2030 (HB 2515) was referred to the House Transportation Committee for a hearing.
ZEV Program, SB 5811
Eleven states currently participate in the ZEV program, which requires that a minimum percentage of the passenger vehicles supplied by automakers be electric. By putting the responsibility on automakers to make more electric vehicles available, the program avoids fiscal impact on taxpayers.
The ZEV program is proven to increase the selection of electric vehicles while decreasing the cost to purchase or lease them. If passed, the bill would enable the state to join the ZEV Program, which requires that about 6% of all new cars stocked at dealerships be electric by 2022 — the first year the measure could go into full effect. Automakers that do not meet the threshold would need to buy credits from another automaker or pay a penalty.
Last year, ZEV legislation passed the Senate but stalled in the House Environment and Energy Committee, chaired by Representative Joe Fitzgibbon. This year, Representative Fitzgibbon affirmed his strong commitment to passing the bill. A diverse coalition of more than 40 organizations supports the bill, including the states leading environmental organizations, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the American Lung Association, Tesla, and ChargePoint.
Matthew Metz, Co-Executive Director of the nonprofit Coltura, said, Coltura has been working for the past year to build a strong coalition of support for SB 5811. We are pleased that the Senate passed the bill quickly and are eager for it to become law.
More information is available at https://www.coltura.org/washingtonzev.
Clean Cars 2030, HB 2515
HB 2515, sponsored by Representative Nicole Macri and co-sponsored by Representative Fitzgibbon and five other legislators, was drafted with assistance from Coltura and is patterned on vehicle electrification policies announced by approximately 15 countries. It requires all model-year 2030 or later passenger vehicles sold in Washington state to be electric. People could keep, sell, and purchase model-year 2029 and prior gasoline vehicles without restriction. Emergency response vehicles and vehicles over 10,000 pounds, such as farm equipment, would be exempt.
Switching to local electricity to power our cars will improve our air quality, save the residents of Washington billions of dollars in fuel and maintenance costs, boost our economy, and create jobs, said bill sponsor Macri.
This bill creates clarity for local governments, automakers, charging companies, utilities, investors, landlords, and workplaces around the future growth of the EV market in the state. It also increases opportunities for lower-income Washingtonians to acquire used EVs and enjoy significant savings over costs of owning a fossil fuel vehicle, said Metz. It will result in cleaner air for Washington, and it will incentivize private-sector investment in new EVs and charging stations, without imposing significant additional burdens on the state budget or the taxpayers.
Coltura is a Seattle-based nonprofit organization working to accelerate America’s transition from gasoline to clean alternatives. Learn more at https://www.coltura.org/.