Oregon Prohibits The Sale Of New Gas-powered Vehicles By 2035

Gas-powered Vehicles: With the 2035 model year, the states of Oregon and Washington will mandate that automakers sell solely new electric or hybrid vehicles and passenger trucks. The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (by a vote of 4-1) and the Washington Department of Ecology both approved the regulations just recently. According to the federal Clean Air Act, 17 states have adopted California’s more stringent standards for automobile emissions. This includes Oregon and Washington.

Oregon Prohibits The Sale Of New Gas-powered Vehicles By 2035

On August 25th, the California Air Resources Board, which has jurisdiction over car emissions, approved the tougher regulations. After 2035, the acts do not prohibit the purchase, registration, or operation of gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles in those states. However, they will mandate that by the 2035 model year, all new cars sold in the United States must be zero-emissions automobiles.

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To comply with federal law, states must either adopt California’s more stringent automobile emissions regulations or the federal government’s more lax requirements. California has set a precedent with its zero-emission car rules, but other states have made it clear they have no intention of following suit.

“I think there is a huge section of this state that feels we are insane to follow California on everything,” said Greg Addington of Klamath Falls, the lone dissenter on the Environmental Quality Commission vote.

Oregon Prohibits The Sale Of New Gas-powered Vehicles By 2035
Oregon Prohibits The Sale Of New Gas-powered Vehicles By 2035

Just a few short months ago, Addington was rehired to head the Oregon Farm Bureau. Another commission member, Amy Schlusser, countered that climate change realities are really compelling change.

Schlusser, a staff lawyer with the Green Energy Institute at Lewis & Clark College, stated, “I think the transportation system will still electrify if we don’t pass this regulation here today.” No matter what we do, we won’t have as many choices. As a result, the utility and car industries cannot count on us to provide regulatory clarity. Instead of updating the (power) grid proactively, in a methodical and coordinated fashion, we will be reacting to problems as they arise.

Last year, Addington was the lone commissioner to vote against a statewide proposal to cut heat-trapping greenhouse emissions by half by 2035 and by 90% by 2050 compared to levels in 2007-2011. The focus of such a strategy was on fuels for vehicles.

In the Oregon Court of Appeals, many groups are contesting the plan on the grounds that the commission did not have the necessary legislative authority to implement it.

Oregon’s transportation sector continues to produce over 30% of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Addington did vote in favor of progress reports commencing in 2028 and updated every two years to cover six criteria, as did the other four members. The condition of electric-charging stations and infrastructure; manufacturer compliance with offering a certain percentage of zero-emission vehicles; the cost of such vehicles and batteries; the impact of the laws on low-income groups and rural regions; and so on.

It has helped Addington “get used to the idea of electric vehicles and what that would imply in locations like Eastern Oregon,” he added. However, he continued, “I do have certain things I can’t quite get over,” including questions about the accessibility of such cars in remote regions, the availability of charging stations, and the viability of vehicles for use in agricultural, forestry, and construction settings. Commercial trucks are exempt from the regulations.

Quite a few residents of his home state “don’t grasp where this is heading and why this is going there,” he added. We have not adequately discussed the implications of this.

When asked about updates, DEQ personnel first suggested a single revision be made in 2030.

Commissioner Chair Kathleen George

Commissioner Chair Kathleen George said that the revised timeline “gives us the chance to check along the way and collaborate with others to take the activities needed to allow these goals to be realized.”

To improve electric-charging stations and other infrastructure along already-designated routes, the Oregon Transportation Commission has approved $100 million in federal money over the next five years.

150 fewer fatalities and $5 million to $13 million in additional health benefits are projected as a result of the new regulations, according to a study conducted by DEQ staff.

By 2040, the new regulations are expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 53 million metric tonnes, and by 2025, they will have cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 3,693 tonnes.

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Some parts of Oregon are in danger of surpassing national ambient air quality guidelines due to emissions from gasoline and diesel engines, according to Rachel Sakata, a senior air quality planner with the EPA. Localized exposure to these pollutants has been linked to respiratory disease, among other adverse health effects. Therefore, this proposed rulemaking aids in achieving emission reductions, which in turn saves lives and reduces the need for hospitalization.

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