The Washington Department of Ecology is proposing rules requiring all new light-duty cars and trucks sold in Washington to meet zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standards by 2035. The department is accepting public comments on the proposed regulations through Oct. 19.
Washington will be one of the first states to adopt the ZEV mandate after California’s decision last month to approve its new standards. Under the standards, zero-emission vehicles can include electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid cars and trucks, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
“Switching to zero-emission vehicles is a critical milestone in our climate fight,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “With growing numbers of consumers and manufacturers already making the switch, we’re making sure Washington is ready to seize the benefits of our EV future.”
Transportation emissions are the biggest source of carbon pollution in Washington, accounting for about 45% of total greenhouse gas emissions in our state. Most of that pollution comes from passenger cars and trucks.
A 2020 law passed by the Washington Legislature requires Ecology to amend the ZEV rules in its Clean Vehicles Program to match those in California and other states moving away from gas- and diesel-powered vehicles. In total, 16 states, representing more than 35% of all national vehicle sales, are adopting these policies.
The new ZEV standards will require manufacturers to sell an increasing percentage of electric and other zero-emission vehicles based on overall sales until reaching 100% by 2035. The standards expand on regulations adopted in 2021, which require about 8% of new vehicles sold to meet zero-emission requirements beginning with model year 2025.
Although the new proposal sets a 2035 deadline for meeting ZEV criteria, Washington is working to make the switch even faster – the state transportation package passed earlier this year sets a 2030 target to move away from fossil fuels, and a group of state agencies is developing plans to reach this goal.
“Washingtonians are embracing the transition from cars powered by fossil fuels – there are already more than 100,000 electric vehicles on our roads,” said Laura Watson, Ecology director. “We’ve seen a significant number of new, zero-emission vehicles come on the market in recent years, and we are confident that the technology, production capacity and charging infrastructure needed to make this shift will be there.”
Overburdened communities, particularly those located along major transportation corridors, are expected to benefit most from the decline in tailpipe emissions and improvements in air quality.
To help accelerate the shift from cars and trucks powered by fossil fuels, Washington and the federal government offer incentives for drivers who make the switch to electric and other zero-emission vehicles. New ZEVs purchased in Washington for up to $45,000 and used ZEVs purchased for up to $30,000 are fully or partially exempt from state sales taxes. Starting in 2023, the federal Inflation Reduction Act (passed in August) will offer consumers a tax credit of up to $4,000 towards the purchase of a used ZEV and up to $7,500 towards the cost of a new ZEV.
Ecology is accepting public comments on zero-emission vehicles and the Clean Vehicles Program through Oct. 19, 2022.
In addition to requiring 100% ZEVs for new car sales by 2035, today’s proposed rules include plans to:
- Adopt California’s rules for cleaner heavy-duty engines
- Implement early-action credits for ZEV sales in model years 2023 and 2024
- Institute a one-time fleet reporting requirement.
Submit comments online, by mail, or at a public hearing:
- Comment online.
- Mail to: Adam Saul
Department of Ecology
Air Quality Program
P.O. Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Ecology will hold an online public hearing at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022.
We will provide an overview of the proposed rule and hold a question-and-answer period, followed by public comment.