Washington state passes bill with goal to phase out gasoline cars

Washington state lawmakers passed a bill on Thursday setting a target to stop sales of gasoline-fueled vehicles there beginning in 2030, five years sooner than California.

The target is not a firm mandate and is contingent on the state adopting a tax on vehicle miles traveled, a measure to help pay for new transportation infrastructure, according to the text of the bill.

The move by the Pacific Northwest state comes as efforts to boost adoption of electric vehicles are accelerating over concerns about fossil fuels’ contribution to climate change.

Transport is the top source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States ahead of the power sector, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

California’s governor issued an executive order last year requiring all new cars and trucks sold in the top U.S. auto market to be zero-emissions by 2035, and the Canadian province of Quebec has set a similar mandate.

Automaker General Motors Co has said it aspires to stop selling gas-fueled passenger cars by the same date.

Washington’s 2030 electric vehicle goal would kick in once three-quarters of the state’s registered vehicles are subject to a so-called road usage charge, according to the bill’s text.

The legislation must be signed by Democratic Governor Jay Inslee before becoming law. Inslee’s office did not immediately respond to a question on whether he would sign it.

Washington-based environmental activist group Coltura called the passage of the bill a victory for the fight against climate change, saying it would accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles.

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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