Washington State is Banning Gas Vehicles

According to Senate Bill 5974, which was just enacted by Gov. Jay Inslee, Washington state should outlaw the majority of gasoline-powered cars.

This will happen over the next eight years as part of its efforts to combat global warming and climate change.

Moving Ahead Washington, a $16.69 billion transportation package, includes funding for this project as part of the appropriations bill for the package.

“A goal is set for the state that all publicly owned and privately held passenger and light-duty automobiles of the model year 2030 or later that are sold, acquired, or registered in Washington state be electric cars,” according to the relevant provision of the legislation.

Senate Bill 5974 establishes an “interagency electric vehicle coordinating committee,” which will be tasked with “completing a scoping plan for reaching the 2030 objective,” according to the new legislation.

The scoping plan must be finished on or by December 31, 2023.

Professor Gives His Opinion

Professor Jeremy Horpedahl, an economics professor in Arkansas, characterized the 2030 deadline as “overly ambitious.” He proposed an alternate course of action to a top-down mandate.

The Center Square received an email from him in which he said a better way would be “to gradually persuade customers to transition to electric cars” and “provide incentives to private industry to create the charging infrastructure.”

“These may be positive rewards, such as incentives that were just included in the Washington public purse (albeit they were fewer than the governor desired),” he said.

Only $25 million is set out for electric car incentives in this year’s supplemental budget authorized by the state Senate, despite Inslee’s proposal to spend $100 million on such subsidies.

“Alternatively, they may be negative incentives,” Horpedahl said, citing carbon taxes as an example; although Washington voters rejected that plan in both 2016 and 2018.

Consumers should be encouraged to switch to electric cars, not compelled to do so, he said.

According to Horpedahl, “whatever the optimal strategy may be, employing economic incentives to promote more eco-friendly consumption is vastly preferable to imposing a severe rule that prohibits fossil-fuel autos.”

The Fight Against Climate Change

University of Washington political scientist John Wilkerson spoke on Washington’s political situation, saying tackling climate change is Governor Jay Inslee’s trademark issue.

As he said in an email, “I believe [Inslee] also feels taking the reins on this subject may help Washington economically. Washington is better-positioned than other states to really cut FF [fossil fuel] usage (given our hydroelectric and wind power).”

Moreover, he is in the fortunate (and transitory) position of being the leader of the Democrat Party as a whole. As a result, this is the window of opportunity he’s been waiting for for the better part of his political career.”

Wilkerson did not exclude the possibility of a changeover to electric cars in Washington by 2030 as a possibility.