Sullivan: Tire ban, $1,000 fines for idling have life in WA Legislature

Feb 7, 2024, 7:58 PM | Updated: Feb 8, 2024, 9:27 am

Image: A SUV drives past a sign near a tire shop on a snow-covered road in January 2012 in the West...

A SUV drives past a sign near a tire shop on a snow-covered road in January 2012 in the West Seattle neighborhood of Seattle. (Photo: Stephen Brashear, Getty Images)

(Photo: Stephen Brashear, Getty Images)

It’s amazing what can get passed through committee in Olympia without any public input.

Last week, we reported on the Washington House of Representatives bill that would allow the Washington State Department of Commerce to ban affordable and durable replacement tires under the umbrella of helping the climate.  The bill received a committee hearing but didn’t go any further. There was no support for the bill in the committee so it died there.

Previous Chokepoints content: Buying tires could become a lot harder

But like the mythical Phoenix, Sen. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds, was able to resurrect the ban from the ashes and sneak it into a seemingly unrelated bill (SB 6304) on electric vehicles in the Senate and get it passed out of his committee.

No public hearing. No public comment. All done behind closed doors in executive session.

To remind you of what this bill would do: It would require that any replacement tires sold in our state meet yet-to-be determined fuel efficiency standards, based on their rolling resistance. That’s how much friction the tires create. It would likely eliminate the most affordable and durable tires available.

Comments from lawmakers and experts

But Liias told his Senate Transportation Committee that drivers would really benefit from this.

“(The) Department of Commerce tells us that the average Washingtonian could save as much as $770 in gas with more efficient tires that use up less fuel on our roadways while also reducing emissions for our state,” Liias said.

Numbers that are disputed by most of the industry experts. Tracey Norberg of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association addressed those rosy estimates during the House public hearing on this idea.

“I think the estimates that we see in the bill are I guess the right word would be very optimistic and and very layers of optimism,” she testified.

“These tires are more costly,” Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, added. “They have a shorter lifespan. They don’t function well on snow or ice, and it’s something that we should not be considering.”

More from Chris Sullivan: Major travel disruptions coming to Highway 529

Language to ban idling also added to bill

Also magically stuffed into Liias’ EV bill during executive session: Language that would ban commercial vehicles from idling.

Beginning Jan. 2, 2025, any person who owns, operates, or causes to operate any diesel-fueled commercial motor vehicle must not idle for five consecutive minutes at any location. Going further, those who own trucks with diesel-fueled auxiliary power systems would not be able to idle for more than five minutes within 100 feet of restricted areas.

Those restricted areas include individual or multi-family housing units, schools, hotels, motels, hospitals, senior care facilities and child care facilities.

The fines for idling would run between $300 and $1,000 per day and any police officer would be able to issue fines.

The bill is now up for full Senate consideration.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints here. You can also follow Chris on X, formerly known as Twitter. Head here to follow KIRO Newsradio Traffic’s profile on X.

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Sullivan: Tire ban, $1,000 fines for idling have life in WA Legislature