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Washington to phase out new gasoline-powered cars by 2035

caption: Traffic rolls along Interstate 5 near Northeast 45th Street, on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Seattle.
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Traffic rolls along Interstate 5 near Northeast 45th Street, on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says the state will phase out the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by the year 2035.

Inslee announced the move in a tweet on Wednesday and said a new rule will be finalized by the end of the year.

Under a 2020 state law, Washington is required to adopt California’s rules for zero-emission vehicles, the most stringent in the nation.

RELATED: California is poised to phase out sales of new gas-powered cars

California’s Air Resources Board is expected to approve that state’s phaseout of fossil fuel car sales on Thursday.

The California rules would mandate a steep increase in sales of zero-emission vehicles, either electric or hydrogen-powered, starting in just four years:

  • 35% by 2026
  • 68% by 2030
  • 100% by 2035

In 2021, electric vehicles made up 12% of new car sales in California, 8% in Washington, and 4% nationwide.

Neither state’s regulations affect cars and trucks already on the road, which are America’s biggest source of climate-harming pollution.

“I’m really excited that California and other states are taking action on our climate crisis,” climate activist Leah Missik with Climate Solutions said. “This is going to be really helpful on a lot of different fronts.”

In addition to global climate disruptions, gas and diesel exhaust causes local health problems, especially among people who live near busy roadways.

Washington state already has a non-binding goal of phasing out fossil fuel vehicle sales by the year 2030.

The governor’s office says the state will still aim for that more ambitious target, though it has not determined how to do so. The Inslee administration has formed an interagency council to come up with strategies for making a rapid statewide transition to electric vehicles.

Vicki Giles Fabré with the Washington State Auto Dealers Association said in an email that her group supports Washington’s goal of all-electric vehicle sales by 2030.

The dealers association has been pushing Washington to fix a gap in state law that has dampened electric vehicle sales here. Washington’s incentives for electric vehicle sales don’t kick in until 2025, leading manufacturers to ship cars to states with more favorable incentives.

The Washington Department of Ecology is considering various ways to catch up to other states’ incentives for electric vehicle sales and boost the supply of green cars in the Evergreen State.

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