Washington State Prepares To Ban ICE Cars

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Move over, California. This is five years before your plan kicks in.

California's plan to ban sales of new ICE-powered vehicles beginning in 2035 now seems a bit ancient. Washington state lawmakers last week passed a measure called the "Clean Cars 2030" initiative as an amendment to an existing bill requiring state utilities to properly prepare for an all-electric vehicle future. That bill only now awaits Gov. Jay Inslee's signature to make it law. Assuming it passes without any hiccups, Washington state residents will only be able to purchase pure battery-electric vehicles in nine years' time.

The bill specifically bans the sale, purchase, and registration of non-EVs from model year 2030. And yes, it also includes vehicles purchased outside the state. There'll be no way to bypass going all-electric if you're a Washington resident.

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This initiative, which passed Washington's Senate by a vote of 25-23 and a House vote of 54-43, should really come as no surprise since Inslee is a major proponent of sweeping environmental initiatives. While environmental activists will surely rejoice with this news, we can't say the same about automakers. General Motors is perhaps the best example.

A few months after California made its big announcement, America's largest automaker stated it planned to be an electric vehicle-only company by 2035. Cross-town rivals Ford and Stellantis have yet to make similar announcements, but it's only a matter of time. The point being is Washington's 2030 ICE ban will create headaches for automakers because they may not be ready in time.

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It was only last September when California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the executive order on the hood of a Ford Mustang Mach-E. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker unveiled his plan in December. This means within only seven months from first being introduced, the ICE ban has already been moved ahead five years by another governor. It's not impossible that a future Washington state governor will try to reverse this initiative, but it's improbable. It'll be hard to stop things once the ball gets rolling on making the necessary infrastructure changes.

Not long after California's decision, other states, aside from Massachusetts, hinted they're interested in making similar decisions. Will they now opt for a 2030 deadline instead? It's very possible.

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