‘We want to … get those EVs in the state as soon as possible:’ Wash., Mass. vow to adopt Calif. car plan

Source: By Dan Zukowski, Utility Dive • Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2022

A gray four-door crossover vehicle with a woman seated with her hand on the steering wheel is parked in front of a Hertz building.

Courtesy of Hertz/GM

Massachusetts and Washington will soon mandate the end of gas-powered passenger vehicle sales within their borders by the 2035 model year, state officials said Tuesday. The actions were expected following California’s precedent-setting move in August, which under the Clean Air Act enabled 17 other states and the District of Columbia to adopt the same standards in lieu of less restrictive federal requirements. 

Speaking on a webinar hosted by sustainable economy non-profit Ceres,Christine Kirby, air and waste commissioner at Massachusetts’ Department of Environmental Protection, said the state plans to adopt California’s Advanced Clean Car II regulations by the end of the calendar year. 

She added that because the California regulations also set intermediate targets for automakers to meet, “we want to capture model year [2026] and get those EVs in the state as soon as possible.” The state’s DEP has already held two virtual stakeholder meetings, Kirby said.

In addition to meeting Massachusetts’ climate goals, Kirby added that the state has “a focus on environmental justice,” which includes transitioning diesel vehicles such as school buses and transit buses to electric power, thus benefiting “communities that may be overburdened by air pollution.” Kirby also encouraged other states to adopt the California program.

Speaking for Washington, Climate Policy Section Manager at the Department of Ecology Joel Creswell said his state is on “a very similar timeline to Massachusetts.”

Both officials said their states are working closely with businesses. “So many of our ZEV transition and ZEV infrastructure programs require partnership with the private sector,” Creswell said.

Separately, Hertz and General Motors announced Tuesday that the car rental company will order up to 175,000 GM electric vehicles through 2027. According to a joint press release from the companies, Hertz will make EVs available for rent at 500 locations across 38 states and aims for 25% of its fleet to be electric by the end of 2024.

Also Tuesday, GM and the Environmental Defense Fund announced a set of joint recommendations for the next tier of federal clean car standards. In a joint press release, the automaker and the environmental group encouraged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “to establish standards aimed at ensuring that at least 50% of new vehicles sold by 2030 are zero-emitting while achieving at least a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in model year 2030 and dramatically reducing nitrogen oxides and particulates, consistent with eliminating tailpipe pollution from new passenger vehicles by 2035.”