KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Washington tire ban secretly added into bill

Feb 8, 2024, 3:44 PM | Updated: Feb 9, 2024, 4:00 pm

Washington tire ban...

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

The Washington Democrats’ plan to ban the most popular tires won’t advance during this legislative session. But you shouldn’t think for a moment that the plan won’t eventually come to fruition. It’s not dead — it’s just in a different form.

House Bill 2262 has emerged as the latest legislative head-scratcher. It aims to steer us toward a greener horizon by mandating low-rolling resistance tires on passenger vehicles. All other tires, which include the vast majority of the ones currently used by drivers, would be banned. Violate their tire ban, and you’d be subject to a fine of up to $10,000 per occurrence.

This bill compromises road safety for environmental virtue signaling, and it will be incredibly costly and inconvenient. The tires Democrats would force on us are not as safe in wet weather, are more expensive, would need to be replaced more often (costing us even more money), and would need to be switched out twice a year with snow tires for drivers who head over the passes during the winter. It doesn’t make much sense, earning an icy reception from The Wall Street Journal

Democrats don’t seem to mind. They introduced the Washington tire ban to get used to yet another dictum on how we live our lives, so when it is eventually enacted, we’re less likely to push back. And they’ll push it through whenever they have an opportunity to exploit, which is why it’ll be introduced every year until they can get away with it.

In fact, it’s already been snuck back into an unrelated electric vehicle bill by State Sen. Marko Liias. He was able to do this without a public comment or hearing because nothing shouts transparency like Democrat secrecy.

They don’t want to spend much time debating these issues before it becomes law. Even if the Liias attempt ultimately fails, Democrats use the disingenuous excuse that it was discussed years earlier when it was initially introduced (and then forgotten). It’s virtually the same script they wrote regarding the ban on the sale of gas-powered vehicles or using plastic bags.

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We’ve seen this eco-script before

This isn’t Washington’s first foray into environmental overreach. Remember the ban on new gas-powered vehicles? That didn’t happen overnight. It took years for the so-called “climate daddy” Governor Jay Inslee to promote the idea before slowly introducing legislation that will effectively force EVs on all of us. 

By his second term, Inslee’s administration had introduced specific proposals and initiatives to promote EVs, reduce carbon emissions, and invest in clean energy technologies. In his 2019 State of the State address, Inslee explicitly called for Washington to embrace clean energy and discussed the role of electric vehicles in the state’s environmental strategy.

The Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), signed into law by Inslee in 2019, mandates that Washington state’s electricity supply be carbon-neutral by 2030 and entirely carbon-free by 2045. While CETA primarily focuses on the electricity sector, the EV transition is integral to the broader strategy to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions. The date we’re supposed to be carbon-neutral is 2030 — the year gas-powered cars can no longer be sold.

And let’s not forget the plastic bag ban — a policy once deemed too radical is now part of our daily lives, illustrating Olympia’s penchant for pushing the extremes on environmental legislation, practicality be damned. They let Seattle start with the bag ban in 2012, only to follow up a decade later with a statewide ban on single-use plastics. They normalized the ban with the state’s largest city, then emulated it.

Environmental “protections” over consumer safety

The proponents of this bill would have us believe that swapping out our trusty treads for these eco-centric alternatives is a small price to pay for the planet.

“At the end of the day, we’re facing a climate crisis, and we need to use as many possible tools to get ourselves out of that,” Rep. Chipalo Street, D-Seattle, argued. “This is one way to increase the gas efficiency of some of our vehicles.”

Yet, Street and his allies conveniently gloss over a critical detail. The tires they want to sideline, under the guise of environmental stewardship, are the very ones that have kept us safe on Washington’s wet and hilly roads. It seems that in Olympia’s quest for environmentally friendly policies, our safety has taken a backseat. In a state fighting to release sex offenders custody, keep violent juveniles out of jail, and stop police from policing, we can’t be too surprised that Democrat lawmakers push their eco-ideology over our well-being on the roads.

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Democrat eco-policies are like bed bugs: once they’re here, they’re almost impossible to get rid of

Democrats in Washington do not give up on truly awful environmental plans. Just don’t dare speak out.

If you criticize any aspect of their plan, you’re deemed an eco-traitor. They call you a nut who doesn’t believe in climate change, a selfish extremist who wants the world to burn. That’s silly, of course. It’s our duty to challenge the very ethos of a governance model that seems willing to compromise on safety at the altar of environmental idealism.

The narrative here isn’t about resisting change or denying the urgency of environmental conservation. I’m an environmentalist and Evergreen Advisor to the American Conservative Coalition, a conservative eco-group. This is about demanding a holistic approach to policy-making, one that doesn’t pit environmental gains against public safety, and a demand for policies grounded in everyday life’s realities that will actually make a difference.

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We don’t have to accept the Washington tire ban

The road to the Democrats’ version of a sustainable future is fraught with potential pitfalls that low-impact tires can’t safely navigate. And the only way to course correct from the overly authoritarian environmentalist hellscape Democrats have charted is to replace them.

They’re telling us what cars we must drive. It doesn’t seem outlandish to believe they’ll equally force certain tires on us.

History says Democrats won’t be dropping the idea of banning tires in Washington. They’re just getting started. Voters can either go for the ride in that EV car that’ll break down a few hundred miles into the road trip, or we could demand policies that are as reliable as a gas-powered sedan.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow Jason on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram, and  Facebook.

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