Rebecca Bernard
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Washington State Inches Closer to Joining California’s EV Program

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Chevrolet Menlo electric crossover China
Photo: Chevrolet

When it comes to a more sustainable future, there are a lot of things we can do to use our resources better. A big step forward is moving from traditional internal combustion engines to electric vehicles. Washington State is betting big on the future of these green vehicles, with its Senate passing a bill last month to require all vehicles sold there be electric by 2030.

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Legislators didn’t come up with the plan on their own, as the bill actually has the state join California’s Zero Emission Vehicle program. It doesn’t just set the date for ICEs to phase out but also creates benchmarks for automakers to achieve before 2030. The first big one is ahead in 2022, with the ZEV program requiring six percent of new cars sold in participating states to be zero-emissions vehicles. If a manufacturer doesn’t meet that goal, there is a program in place where they can buy credits from manufacturers that beat the requirement. As a last resort, manufacturers that don’t accomplish either goal will be fined.

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There are 10 states in the ZEV program: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Washington isn’t an official member yet, as the bill is still making its way through its House of Representatives. A majority of the Evergreen Sate’s energy — 86 percent — comes from wind, nuclear, and hydro sources, and its carbon footprint is the smallest of any state’s, so we predict that the bill will easily make it to the governor’s desk. Time will tell if more states join the ZEV program and if the auto industry stops to take notice.