Efforts to increase the usage of electric vehicles in Washington, whether by mandates or simply targets, are smart. With an environmentally-friendly ethos, the state ought to be a global pioneer in the shift away from gas as well as diesel-powered vehicles. House Bill 1024 represents the fine line that occurs between mandates and priorities in the legislature. Initially, the bill called for cars to be electric, beginning with the 2030 design year in an attempt to be registered as well as licensed in the state.
As per The Seattle Times, the state attorney general’s office advised that such a law would face legal challenges arguing that it violated the state’s authority under the federal Clean Air Act, such that these concerns would cause enforcement to be postponed. Rather, the House Transportation Committee approved a bill that calls for all new passenger cars as well as light-duty trucks to be electric by 2030.
The gap between the bills is major, sapping much of the momentum behind attempts to dramatically cut carbon emissions on Washington’s highways. Even the longest path starts with a simple step, and several small steps add up to long-term success in the battle against pollution. Automakers, in particular, have acknowledged how climate change is affecting customer preferences. Volvo, headquartered in Sweden, has confirmed that its fleet will be battery-powered by the year 2030; GM, centered in Detroit, has set a goal of being fully electric by 2035; as well as other automakers are increasingly electrifying their fleets.
The options are dangerous. According to AutoPacific, EV sales in the United States are going to triple by 2025, but they will still account for just 5% of the market. However, the improvements are also important. The transportation industry, as per the Environmental Protection Agency, is the nation’s main source of the carbon emissions, contributing to about 28% of total emissions. Setting a target to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road sends a direct message about the state’s goals.
Residents of Washington are likely to be sympathetic. According to a poll conducted by George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communications, 60% of state residents acknowledge that limiting new vehicle purchases to electric power by the year2030 is a successful idea. Meanwhile, Clark Public Utilities has endorsed a Transportation Electrification Plan that will include a number of programs to support electric cars, including car charger rebates and a used electric car rebate program.