A bill that would make Washington the 12th state to adopt California’s zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate has narrowly passed the state Senate. The measure (SB 5811) passed the House in January, and Governor Jay Inslee is expected to sign it.
Washington adopted California’s emissions standards in 2005, but did not sign on to the ZEV mandate. The mandate requires that automakers derive at least 5% of their sales from EVs. This figure gradually increases to 8% by 2025.
Several automakers offer their EVs only in ZEV states, so if Washington’s ZEV mandate becomes law, it is expected to result in a wider selection of EVs in the state, as well as expanding the national market for the so-called “compliance cars.”
The Union of Concerned Scientists reports (via Electrek) that the transportation sector is Washington’s biggest source of carbon pollution, and that the average EV in the state emits 1.3 metric tons of global warming emissions per year, compared to 4.9 metric tons for the average new gas car.
A couple of other pro-EV bills were considered by the state legislature, but now look unlikely to pass: E2SHB 1110 would establish rebates for EV purchasers, and encourage the use of biofuels; another proposal would implement a ban on gas vehicles by 2030.
Washington’s entry into the ZEV club deals another blow to the Trump administration’s campaign to eviscerate emissions regulations. It also sends a message to GM, Toyota and Fiat-Chrysler that they’re on the wrong side of this conflict. GM’s position is particularly puzzling – the company has recently made several moves toward an electric future, but continues to side with the administration in favor of watering down fuel economy rules. Electrek called out GM CEO Mary Barra on the issue at a recent event where the company touted its upcoming wave of EVs.