As the Biden administration moves to suspend oil and gas leasing on federal land — and has canceled the Keystone XL oil Pipeline — the state of Washington may soon outlaw gasoline cars by 2030.
House Bill 1204 in the Washington state legislature was introduced by both houses on Jan. 14 and a public hearing took place on Feb. 1. The bill, co-sponsored by state Democratic Reps. Nicole Macri, Joe Fitzgibbon, and more than two dozen others, would effectively require all newly sold vehicles in the state to be electric. Vehicles that would not be affected by “Clean Cars 2030” would be emergency vehicles, hydrogen-powered vehicles, and vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds.
“Clean Cars 2030 will ensure that our policy goals and actions move us rapidly toward a 100 percent clean energy environment,” state Rep. Nicole Macri, the lead sponsor, said in a release, “and keep pace with what is now a global trend toward vehicle electrification.”
As noted by environmental nonprofit Coltura, which participated heavily in drafting the bill, about 99 percent of all cars in the state of Washington run on gasoline. Given the overwhelming amount of citizens in Washington and across the country who rely on oil for their daily needs, it is mind-boggling to think about the ramifications that such restrictions could impose on everyday Americans.
Similarly, Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., told the public of California’s plan under his leadership to stop the sale of gasoline vehicles by 2035. While General Motors announced on Jan. 29 that it plans to reduce gas vehicle production by 40 percent by 2025, Newsom has not formally signed any legislation or enacted any regulation in the state. Massachusetts released a plan in early January, as well, aimed at achieving “Net Zero” by 2050, therefore moving to end the sale of gas cars by 2035.
Matthew Metz, the co-executive director of Coltura, told ABC News that “Without the certainty of a close, attainable date, we are likely to approach the transition off gasoline in an unnecessarily slow and haphazard manner, and cause vast amounts of unnecessary carbon release in the process.” Metz also believes other states could propose similar legislation, offering that it “opens up for a new path for states to [begin] regulating vehicles and shift to an all-electric future.”
The newly introduced bill comes on the heels of the Seattle City Council successfully passing an ordinance to ban natural gas for heating in new construction projects, or for additional usage in other establishments, on Feb. 1.
With a job market already hampered by government lockdowns and oil market restrictions, Washington’s potential legislation would in all likelihood worsen the latest 7.1 percent state unemployment rate (measured December 2020), which is greater than the latest national 6.7 percent rate. This number in the state is the highest it had been since the month of September, and would inevitably affect the jobs of thousands in the oil and natural gas industry.
(note: an earlier version of the article incorrectly listed Rep. Marcus Riccelli as a co-sponsor of Bill 1204)