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Oregon Votes to Ban New Gas-Powered Cars by 2035

The new rule will not affect gas-powered cars that are already on the road.

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A line of electric cars and newly installed charging stations are seen in front of the Portland General Electric headquarters building on July 28, 2015 in Portland, Oregon.
A line of electric cars and newly installed charging stations are seen in front of the Portland General Electric headquarters building on July 28, 2015 in Portland, Oregon.
Photo: Don Ryan (AP)

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality approved a rule on Monday that will ban the sale of new gas-powered cars in the state by 2035.

A statement about the new rule explained that all new passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs sold in Oregon must be battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric cars. This will give Oregon residents some flexibility, especially for those who live in communities with fewer charging stations. The rule also doesn’t affect gas-powered vehicles that are already on the road, the Associated Press reported.

The new rule is part of Oregon’s efforts to cut emissions 50% by 2035 and 90% by 2050. There’s a reason why state officials want to reach that goal by electrifying the transit sector. Transportation accounts for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., making it the largest contributor of emissions in the county, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Transportation also makes up 37% of Oregon’s carbon emissions, which makes it the largest source of emissions in the state, according to the Department of Environmental Quality.

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“All those living in Oregon will benefit from the cleaner air and improved public health outcomes achieved by reducing pollution from transportation. This is especially true for low-income and underrepresented communities across the state who live closest to roadways and have been most often impacted by poor air quality,” Leah Feldon, the Department of Environmental Quality’s interim director, said in a statement.

To support the increased number of electric vehicles on the road, Oregon’s DoT has committed $100 million to build charging stations over the next five years. The department aims to place these stations in underserved communities, in rural areas, and throughout major transportation corridors, according to the state press release. Oregon automakers will have two years to meet first compliance steps for model year 2026 cars. Some manufacturers have already confirmed efforts to increase the production of electric vehicles.

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Oregon is following several other states. This past August California voted to ban the sale of new gas powered cars by 2035, despite being the second largest consumer of gasoline in the U.S. Other states, like New York, have announced their own gas powered car ban this year. Earlier this month, Colorado also published plans to boost EV numbers. But unlike California and Oregon, it plans on making that transition without a gas car ban. Instead the state’s Energy Office has opted to increase charging infrastructure and to eliminate some financial challenges for EV ownership.