Washington State bans gas cars by 2030 – the earliest in the US

Jameson Dow  - Apr. 15th 2021 electrek.co

Washington State legislature has passed “Clean Cars 2030,” a bill setting a goal to require all light-duty vehicles of model year 2030 or later to be electric. The bill passed as part of a larger package directing utilities to prepare the state for all-electric transportation.

With this bill, Washington State becomes the first US state to pass a gas car ban legislatively (as opposed to by executive order), and now has the earliest gas car ban in the US. California and Massachusetts also plan gas car bans by 2035.

The bill, which we previously reported on when it moved out of committee, has now passed both houses of the state legislature and goes to Governor Jay Inslee’s (pictured) desk to be signed into law. It passed with a vote of 25-23 in the Senate and 54-43 in the House

Washington’s bill specifically seeks to ban the sale, purchase, or registration of any non-electric vehicle of model year 2030 or later. Thus, it would even apply to cars purchased out of state and imported into Washington.

These would not need to be battery electric vehicles, they can be any electrically powered vehicle. Thus, fuel cell vehicles, which are powered by an electric motor connected to a fuel cell rather than a battery, would qualify as well.

However, the bill is written more as a set of goals than strict regulation. So we are sure that we will see more developments as Washington State tweaks its implementation.

Road usage/VMT fees – better than EV fees

It also includes a clause that won’t go into effect until 75% of vehicles in the state are covered by a road usage/vehicle miles traveled charge, where taxes are assessed based on how many miles a vehicle is driven (possibly also with a multiplier for larger vehicles). The bill itself does not provide for this, though there are separate efforts in Washington State to implement a road usage fee.

Road usage fees would replace or supplement a gas tax to raise revenue to pay for roads. The idea is that road usage fees are a more equitable way to raise funds for transport projects than a gas tax.

Currently, many states are worrying about the future of gas tax revenue as more electric vehicles are adopted. Many states (including Washington) have also implemented punitive electric vehicle fees (backed by fossil industry propaganda) using this rationale, scapegoating electric vehicles for poor road status, rather than the fact that they haven’t raised the gas tax in decades.

Over-reliance on gas tax revenue for road funding is not an issue that currently needs addressing, but it is an issue that will need to be addressed in the future as we move to more electric vehicles. Many (including Electrek) have advocated for a move to a road usage/vehicle miles traveled tax with a weight multiplier as a better solution for road funding. This would also separate road usage from pollution – something that also needs to have a price associated with it.

Earlier than California

Again, as we did in our previous article, we must point out that Washington has leapfrogged California with this effort. While California has always been a leader on environmental regulations, Washington is now beating them by five whole years on electric vehicles.

California is in many ways the home of EVs in the US, with the state accounting for half of national EV sales and home to the largest EV company in the world, with many other automakers setting up technology offices in the San Francisco Bay Area to leverage California’s tech talent in building up their electric and autonomous vehicle programs.

California’s transportation regulations also lead the country, with many other states, including Washington, following California’s ZEV rules.

But Washington, a state that lags behind California in EV sales, still thinks it’s possible to end gas car sales five full years earlier than California. And why shouldn’t they? European governments are coalescing around the same date, automakers are planning to end gas car sales by around then, even the US government wants to be all-electric by then.

If anything, 2030 seems like a neutral target, not even all that ambitious. Who’s going to want to buy a new gas car by then anyway? If nothing else, they will depreciate rapidly as everyone moves away from driving on gas.

We’ll need to stay tuned for further developments on this front, including specifics on Washington’s road usage fees and how exactly this ban will be implemented. But it’s becoming more and more clear: Gas cars are not going to be relevant by the end of this decade. And entities (governments, automakers, consumers) that don’t recognize and work with that timeline are going to end up scrambling by the time the decade is out.


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Well, Chad, it's not about trusting. It's about pondering the big picture, i.e., weighing practicalities in regards to why Uncle Sam will be doing what's best for its citizens, including you. The farm lobby is quite big. That's why so many mega spreads garner welfare payments per crop insurance, etc.

Now, of course, the public has been lied to and duped many times about what the politicians plan on passing as legislation. That's true. Yet if it wasn't for our rural-friendly congressmen, then Texas would never have had so darn many paved farm-to-market roads. As they say, everything is bigger in Texas. The state has a wonderful system of taxpayer financed roads.

Now, having spent a few years growing up in Tejas, with uncles and aunts and plenty of cousins still calling the state home, I fully understand flipping the finger at city folks. Both my parents were country. I grew up country. City folks, in my book, tend to lie more than good ol' boys, although I know plenty of rednecks you can't trust, too.

And since my roots go way, way back to the days of independence from Mexico and the Alamo, I understand relying on one's self, without any desire to ask anyone for help. That's the way I was brought up.

Yet think about this. What would you do if you couldn't buy any gasoline for your truck? Weigh this as a hypothetical. In other words, if there were no gas stations, such as the one my family used to own, what would you do to stay self-sufficient and keep the homestead running?

My ancestors were the pioneering families who populated the South, starting back in the 1600s and moving west, farther and farther west. They didn't cry over spilled milk. They didn't whine when they had to make do without store-bought goods. No, they went out and figured out a work-around to get a job done.

That said, since you don't trust your elected officials, maybe you should simply buy a huge fuel storage tank (or go with CNG or LNG) for your spread and some extra duel-usage pickups so you'll be able to continue to live your present lifestyle for the rest of your lifetime. In 30 years, no one will stop a "farm truck" simply because it's an ICE vehicle, IMHO. No Texas Ranger, that's for sure.

So, like my ancestors, it's always better to be self-reliant.

Plus, they might have hybrid dualies in the future with both CNG & electric long-haul motors. 

I applaud your ancestors and their resolve.  Like you, my ancestors have been here for generations.  Our ranch has been in continuous operation in Harrison county since 1846.  Those early pioneers were indeed resilient.  However, their obstacles were natural. Not the government and zealots with a differing opinion.

Harrison County owes much to the "government".  Rural electrification under the 1935 Emergency Relief Act under FDR brought Harrison into the the Twentieth Century and  the WPA built Caddo Lake State Park (one of my favorite parts of Harrison along with Uncertain).  Interstate 20, built with federal funds, benefited Harrison along with much of NE Texas.  The government is what we make it, not some malign force.

Zealotry comes in many forms, some worthy and some not so much.  Support for science-informed climate actions would be at the top of the worthy list, IMO.

Insulting other states and people make us feel good. The whalers of New England did it years ago when kerosine made whale oil obsolete.  

ICE vehicles are going away.  They waste too much energy and they're dirty.  

These forward looking states are planning for a future that's coming faster with each passing day.  Maybe we should wise up and push for the future that's coming and stop crying about the good old days.

AND, please folks, if you're going to bring up other things that has nothing to do with ICE vehicles, make sure you know what you're supporting. 

  1. a political protest movement comprising autonomous groups affiliated by their militant OPPOSITION to fascism and other forms of extreme right-wing ideology. (NAZIS) 


Imagine this scenario.  You’re in 2040 California.  You barely reach home on the charge and plug your EV in.  Unfortunately, the commercial power is off.  No worries, You’ll just wait it out.  Later that night, the Sherriff comes around announcing an evacuation due to a wildfire.  Now what?  How do you get out?  Do you hitch a ride with a neighbor?  But wait, all vehicles are mandated to be EV, so most of the neighborhood is in the same shape as you.  Your best hope is that there is a radical freethinker in the neighborhood that has a bootleg 4wd that still runs on gas.  
Similar scenarios will be faced by mountain communities with snow storms or coastal communities with hurricanes.  Not to mention the ability of governments to be able to cut the cord to those communities that aren’t behaving as instructed.  I have storage tanks and gas cans in case of emergency.  I don’t see any spare EV batteries that you can tote around.  
My point is that it is inhumane to mandate one mode of transportation energy over another that tethers you to that unreliable and easily restricted source.  

One problem with government mandates is that they assume a one size fits all solution.  Those making the mandates tend to live in an urban and insulated environment.  They cannot comprehend a lifestyle or society that is different from their own.  As a result, they tend to ignore or minimize arguments that are contrary.

If you want an EV, you should be able to buy one.  By the same logic, I should be able to buy an ICE vehicle.  It is antithetical to freedom to mandate one over the other.

Your first sentence is a strong rationale to take climate actions.  The 2030 Washington ban is limited to "light duty" vehicles.  I suspect that more state bans are coming but will be limited to the sale of new ICE vehicles.  ICE vehicles will still be on the roads and available to purchase used.  Over time parts and computer upgrades will be harder to access not because governments mandate them but because private companies no longer find the business niche sufficiently profitable.  More and more communities will become microgrids that can disconnect from the regional grid and maintain essential power independently.    I suspect that if we were to check on the Washington legislative districts, we would find quite a few are rural.  The argument that it's only urban elected officials (read, elites) who are supporting these actions is quite flawed but prevalent in the right wing blogosphere.  I hope that you can own all the ICE vehicles you want for as long as you want but the majority of us are moving on.  Good luck.

My GMC 3500 Duramax is considered "light duty" in this context and would be banned.  I have no problems with the markets dictating what evolves.  Get the politics out of the way and let the best and most appropriate designs win.    

What should be abhorrent to all is a government deciding what is best.  The very action of a governmental body banning one product and forcing the use of another is murderous to Freedom and Liberty.  The uniqueness of America is in our Individual rights.  Up until now, the government was restricted in its power by the rights of the Individual.  The government could only do what the citizens allowed.  Should this role be reversed, where the citizens are only allowed to do what the government blesses,  then we are no longer free.  We will have returned to the subject status that plagued humankind until the birth of America. 

I'm not sure why you want to frame this as a right vs left political issue?  From a perspective of Liberty, its more of a right vs wrong issue. The difference between our positions is in our actions.  You like EV's, I don't have a problem with them, but they cannot work in my situation.  I wish you well on your choice and will be pleased if it is all you wish for.  You don't like my ICE vehicle, but instead of letting me be content with my choice, you opine for my freedoms to be extinguished.   One position promotes free markets, free choice, and freedom of ideas. The other promotes authoritarian mandates, elimination of choice and the removal of Freedom.

Your argument sounds familiar.  I think it is similar to those who do not wish to be vaccinated for COVID.  All this angst over supposed government overreach and "freedom" misses something.  Individual rights do not allow someone to put others in jeopardy.  And the welfare of the majority is the rightful focus of the federal government. 

The free market is already focused on and moving in the direction of renewable energy and climate risk mitigation.  A little push from the federal government will only marginally speed up the transition.  For example, government investment in battery technology and charging infrastructure will assist the transition to EVs but industry will make the major advancement when EVs are price competitive with similar ICE vehicles.  Government investment in the electric grid will be critical to long term stability and low cost consumer electricity but it will be the electric utilities and merchant power generators who will deploy the latest technology in generation sources.  Those are market forces at work as usual. 

The complaint that government is forcing the market to do something other than what is in its best interest is not supported by factual analysis.  The market headed down that road prior to the current administration.  It's where the future and the money is.

The problem with your Antifa definition is that they actually act like Nazis and Fascists.  They are terrorists.

I’m a rancher and contractor in Texas.  I use a 1 ton duality to haul equipment and cattle on a daily basis.  It is not uncommon for me to haul over 200 miles a day in very remote, rural areas.  I have extra fuel tanks just to make sure I do not get stranded.

 For those that aren’t familiar with rural living, in an emergency you have to meet an ambulance in route to make it on time or because of road conditions.

Texas is a big place but 200 miles from anywhere is a far stretch.  Your not using real arguments to support ICE's.  Yes, East Texas has some remote places, but I can't think of any that would be more than 20 miles from a gas station.  Today's EV's have a range of 300-400 miles.  There's no reason that range is not going to be even more in 10 years.  When we went to the most remote place we could go, the moon, we took an EV to ride around.  

I'm familiar with rural living.  Some of the best fun I've ever had was driving on our dirt roads.  They have now paved all those roads and kids driving today won't know how to slide a truck around a dirt road curve.  That was over 50 years ago and even then ambulances did just fine on those roads.

The only time I heard of someone having to take care of getting to the hospital on their own was when my granddaddy lost an eye and had to have a friend drive him to Shreveport.  That was in 1952.  He didn't use an ambulance because he didn't have any money.

Having the government pick winners and losers is nothing new.  Goes on everyday.  We could pretend that it doesn't and cry freedom when we're upset, but nobody is really free.  Why?  Because we don't live on a isolated island and eat coconuts.


My 200 mile reference was too how far I have to tow a loaded truck and trailer.  There are plenty of areas south of Carthage that are more than 20 miles from a gas station.  In West Texas, there are areas that are over 50 miles ,or more, from stations.  Your EV range is for a light passenger car.  The range for a pull vehicle is no where near that.  Halve that range in sub freezing conditions.  My comment about the ambulances concerns the speed of response.  I’m 30 mins from the nearest EMT station or hospital.  When there is an emergency in this area, we usually meet the ambulance in route.  Especially on a day like today when we just had a heavy rain.  The shortest route to a main road is a dirt road.  There is no way a 2wd vehicle can make it down this road for the next few hours or even a day.  
My concerns have yet to be addressed.  When commercial power is out, how am I supposed to work?  Tend my cattle?  Address an emergency?  These are practical issues that need to be addressed.  The answer is not just harden the infrastructure.  Out here, no matter how hardened, there will always be trees that fall, lightning strikes on transformer stations, or a wreck into a power pole.  (These are the 3 causes of my power outages just this week).  These are not political arguments, but everyday events.

If there is a political argument, it is that broad mandates make poor policy. 

I will repeat what I’ve previously stated about actions. You like and want EV’s.  I support your choice and ability to buy.  I hope it serves you well.  On the other hand, I don’t see any EV’s that will fit my application.  Worse, I see governments banning, or proposing to ban, what I have to have for my livelihood.  Will you support my needs?  If not, why?  


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