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Washington solidifies goal to end sale of new gas-powered cars by 2030

An electric vehicle charging in London. (Getty Images)

The Washington Legislature passed a bill Wednesday that sets a goal to end the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2030.

Washington State Senate passes pair of landmark climate change bills

The measure passed as an amendment, added on to a larger bill establishing publicly available mapping telling drivers where they can access charging and refueling stations for electric vehicles, and mandating electric charging capabilities in all new residential buildings by July 2024.

For the part of the bill phasing out new gas-powered vehicles by the end of the decade, that will be contingent on having at least 75% of registered vehicles participating in the state’s yet-to-be-completed pay-per-mile system.

Known more formally as a road usage charge (RUC), the method has been studied in Washington for nine years, including a year-long pilot program. The goal is to have drivers pay for the miles they drive, not the amount of fuel they buy. The RUC would eventually replace the gas tax.

This also marks a legislative victory for Coltura, a locally-based coalition that represents over 25 environmental organizations, with the goal of working for a “gasoline-free America by 2040 or sooner.” Coltura has acted as a major force behind the “Clean Cars 2030” initiative in Washington during this year’s legislative session.

“With the passage of Clean Cars 2030, the end of the era of gasoline-powered cars is in sight,” Coltura Co-Executive Director Matthew Metz said in a written release. “Clean Cars 2030 sets Washington on a nation-leading path consistent with climate science and an auto industry trend toward a fully-electric automotive future.”

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State Sen. Marko Liias — one of the bill’s co-sponsors — lauded the legislation as “a critical step to meet urgent carbon reduction goals here in Washington.”

“Passage of this legislation takes the guesswork and uncertainty out of the electric vehicle transition by creating a clear timeline with the data, tools, and guidelines we need to help businesses, developers, governments, and consumers plan with confidence,” Liias said Wednesday.

This comes during a larger shift within the automotive industry to begin transitioning to electric vehicles. That includes General Motors, which set a goal this year to have a majority of its production center around EVs by 2035.

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