Washington and Massachusetts Mull Bans of New Gas-Powered Cars, Following California

California will ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. Other states could follow suit in their efforts to drastically cut emissions.

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Cars sit at gas pumps in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, on July 19, 2022.
Cars sit at gas pumps in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, on July 19, 2022.
Photo: Joseph Prezioso / AFP (Getty Images)

Last week, California became the first state to officially announce the phase-out of gas-powered cars in order to significantly lower emissions by the middle of this century. Since then, officials in Washington state and Massachusetts have announced their own similar plans, also citing the need to lower emissions.

“This is a critical milestone in our climate fight,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee wrote in a tweet about California’s vote and his plan to follow. “Washington set in law a goal for all new car sales to be zero emissions by 2030 and we’re ready to adopt California’s regs by end of this year.”

Specifics of a potential ban in Washington have not been released yet, but the public will be able to weigh in on the proposal, the Seattle Times reports. Washington Senate Bill 5811, or the Motor Vehicles Emissions Law, was passed in 2020 and directs the state’s Department of Ecology to follow California’s emissions standards as they’re rolled out.

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Transportation accounts for about 40% of Washington’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the state’s governor. In Massachusetts, transportation and related infrastructure made up about 43% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2016, according to a report from the state’s Planning Council.

Washington state has previously committed to cut almost 70% of vehicle-related emissions by 2030. The state intends to apply the gas-powered vehicle ban to all passenger cars, according to the Seattle Times.

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Earlier this month, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a climate bill that included a push to ensure that all new cars sold by 2035 are zero-emissions, ABC News reported. The law includes boosting charging infrastructure to support electric vehicles and increasing rebates for new electric cars. This includes an extra rebate for low-income people in the state. The law includes a trigger, meaning that that once California decides to phase out gas powered cars, Massachusetts can then push its own version of the law, NBC Boston reported. State regulators can now work on specific details for the phase out.