Washington State to Ban Sales of New Gas-Powered Cars

The target is 2030, and the plan hinges on adoption of a vehicle-miles-traveled tax.

April 19, 2021

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ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Last week, Washington state lawmakers passed a bill that would halt the sales of new gasoline-powered, internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in the state beginning in 2030, Reuters reports.

The news report notes that the target date is not a mandate and contingent on the state adopting a tax on vehicle miles traveled for 75% of its registered vehicles, adding that the move comes “as efforts to boost adoption of electric vehicles are accelerating over concerns about fossil fuels' contribution to climate change.”

Washington’s 2030 target to halt the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles is five years earlier than California’s target. California Gov. Gavin Newsom in September 2020 signed an executive order to require all new cars and trucks sold in the state to be zero-emissions by 2035.

In response to calls for emission reductions, there has been a wave of policies banning the future sale of ICE vehicles globally. In addition to the U.S. states of Washington and California, more than a dozen countries have announced plans to ban the sale of ICE-equipped vehicles, as well as British Columbia and Quebec in Canada. These countries represent almost half of the global light-duty vehicle market.

The Fuels Institute recently released “Policy Considerations: Proposals to Ban the Sale of Combustion Engine Vehicles”  to invite discussion on these policies.

“The Fuels Institute does not take a position on whether such policies should be implemented; we simply want to encourage policymakers to carefully think through the implications of such a significant change to the market,” said John Eichberger, executive director. “Only by considering what might transpire and where challenges may exist can leaders develop effective plans to achieve their overall objectives. We hope this paper serves as a resource that supports the development of thoughtful improvements to the transportation sector.”

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