Washington clean cars

Transportation is the largest source of carbon pollution in Washington. Transportation contributes about 22% of total air pollution and 39% of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the state. Vehicle pollution causes health problems, such as cancer and asthma, and also contributes to climate change.

Committed to cleaner vehicles

Washington’s current clean cars program includes requirements for low emission vehicles and zero emission vehicles:

  • Passenger cars – vehicles designed to transport up to 12 people
  • Light-duty trucks – vehicles weighing less than 8,500 pounds
  • Medium-duty passenger vehicles – vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds designed to transport people
  • Medium-duty vehicles – vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds 

Zero emission vehicle standards (ZEV)

Increasing the number of zero emission vehicles on Washington's roads will reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year by 2030.

In 2020, the Motor Vehicle Emission Standards law directed us to adopt California vehicle emission standards. In Nov. 2021, we adopted the zero emission vehicle standards that require a percentage of the vehicles sold in Washington to be zero emission, starting with the 2025 model year. Consumers will have more choices of zero emission vehicle models, from light-duty cars and trucks to medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

In Dec. 2022, we adopted California's vehicle emissions standards. The Clean Vehicles Program rule increases zero emission vehicle sales of passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles to 100% starting in 2035. It also requires cleaner burning engines in medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

Buying a car in Washington

New vehicles that do not meet Washington's vehicle emission standards cannot be registered, licensed, rented, or sold here — even if they meet federal standards. It is your responsibility to make sure your car meets the state standards.

If you buy a new car in Washington, then you can register it in Washington. Washington car dealers must sell vehicles that meet California's vehicle emission standards. If you buy a car with less than 7,500 miles that doesn't meet the California standards, then you can't register it in Washington. If you a buy a used car with more than 7,500 miles, then you can register it in Washington, regardless of whether it meets California vehicle emission standards. Used vehicles are not covered by these standards. 

Other states, including Oregon and California, have the same vehicle emission standards. If you buy a 2009 or newer model car in one of those states, it will meet state standards. Cars purchased in states that do not have the same vehicle emission standards cannot be registered in Washington.