If all goes according to plan, all new cars sold in Oregon and Washington will be electric cars in just over a decade.
Portland, Oregon. — In just over a decade, all new cars sold in Oregon and Washington will be electric cars — that’s the plan, at least.
Earlier this year, California announced a statewide ban on new gas-powered cars by 2035. It’s the only US state allowed to set its own vehicle emissions rules, and it’s also the most populous.
Every other state can choose to adopt federal emissions rules, which are less stringent, or follow California’s rules for staging.
Washington passed a law in 2019 that requires the state to follow California’s auto emissions standards, and the state already has a lot of people driving electric cars. It recently hit the milestone of 100,000 EVs on the road.
Building enough charging stations to support a large influx of electric vehicles will be an engineering challenge, but the Washington Department of the Environment is confident the plan will succeed.
“The whole network that we have to deliver the fuel that goes into our cars is a completely different system. But once that system is in place, the real advantage of electric cars other than being good for the environment is that they are cheaper,” said Joel Cresswell of the Environmental Division.
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Oregon, which adopted California emissions standards in 2006, has about 52,000 electric vehicles on the road, most of them in the greater Portland area.
The country plans to have electric cars make up at least 35% of all new cars on the market by 2026. So even in the next four years, local dealerships will likely have plenty of electric cars in their trim.
Like California and Washington, the plan is for electric vehicles to make up 100% of new cars by 2035, which doesn’t mean people have to sell or get rid of gas-powered cars they already own.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is still in the process of writing rules to meet California standards. Rachel Sakata, chief air quality planner for Oregon DEQ, held a Zoom meeting on Tuesday to talk about moving forward with the plan.
She said reducing emissions from gas-powered cars would have health and financial benefits for underserved communities.
“Reducing these emissions in general would benefit low-income and communities of color, which are often disproportionately affected by transportation pollution due to their proximity to roads. It can also lead to lower mortality, fewer hospital visits, and fewer lost work days, resulting in reduced emissions. to financial savings in what we estimate is a total benefit of up to $625 million,” Sakata said.
Related: California plans to phase out gas vehicles by 2035. Will other states follow?
When asked how she came up with that number, she said it came from an edited version of a report prepared by California.
As part of the rule-making process, the Oregon Division of Environmental Quality must also do a cost estimate for those affected by the transition, including manufacturers. The report estimated that it would cost automakers about $3 billion.
Steve Henderson, the Ford Motor Company CEO who leads the electrical team, was on hold. He said moving would cost them a lot more.
“I think Ford alone has committed — we’re going to invest $50 billion before 2026 in our plan for electric vehicles, and I know that’s just Ford. Other companies are in similar positions. So there’s a tremendous amount of investment going on targeting this, and that’s a good thing.” That will make that adoption happen. But it’s a lot more than $3 billion,” Henderson said.
The Oregon DEQ will release proposed rules for the plan next week. There will be public hearings in mid-October before it takes effect in December.
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