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Connecticut pumps brakes on banning gas car sales, other states push ahead

Nov 30, 2023

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Efforts to ban new gas-powered vehicle sales in the United States encountered a hurdle this week. While an increasing number of states are passing legislation to implement new clean vehicle standards by 2035, amid opposition Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has opted to pump the brakes on his state’s participation in the growing movement.

“Disappointed not in the governor, but in my colleagues. These standards are not radical or controversial,” said Connecticut State Rep. Anne Hughes. “They are quite frankly the least we can do in the face of an urgent climate crisis.”

Connecticut’s initial plan to prohibit new gasoline-powered vehicle sales had originally aligned with the deadlines set by other states. However, concerns regarding the high cost of buying an electric vehicle (EV), the availability of charging stations, and the state’s electric grid’s capacity to handle the transition prompted a bipartisan movement in the state Legislature to slow down the proposal.

“What the administration would like to do is just state a goal, mandate the purchase of electric vehicles in 2035, with no plan to get there. No plan,” said Connecticut State Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly. “There are too many questions regarding the capacity of our electric grid, the cost and location of grid improvements, and the negative impact on urban, rural and working poor families.”

Connecticut’s plan aimed to mirror the automotive emissions regulations adopted by California in 2021, paving the way for other states to follow suit.

States such as Vermont, New York, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Virginia, Rhode Island, and Maryland have all pledged to join these efforts, with New Jersey becoming the latest to commit last week. The Garden State has vowed to start limiting sales of new gas-powered vehicles by 2027 before phasing them out entirely by 2035.

In April, the Biden administration proposed new automobile pollution limits which would require up to two-thirds of new vehicles sold in the U.S. be electric by 2032. Meanwhile, despite the setback encountered in Connecticut, state officials remain optimistic that a requirement for new vehicles sold in the state to produce zero tailpipe emissions will take shape in the near future.

“The shift to zero-emission vehicles is already here,” Lamont said. “Consumers and car companies are both embracing the change, with manufacturers significantly increasing electric vehicle sales and families choosing to purchase those vehicles in increasing numbers. Following the legislature’s direction and our neighboring states’ decision to adopt the latest California emissions standards will help ensure a predictable, orderly transition to a cleaner and healthier future.”

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(Jack Alymer | Anchor)

THE EFFORT TO BAN GAS POWERED VEHICLE SALES IN THE UNITED STATES HAD A HICCUP THIS WEEK.

AS MORE STATES PASS LEGISLATION THAT WILL IMPOSE NEW CLEAN VEHICLE STANDARDS BY 20-35, CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR NED LAMONT HAS BEEN FORCED TO PUMP THE BRAKES ON GETTING THE NUTMEG STATE TO JOIN THIS MOVEMENT.

LAMONT ORIGINALLY TARGETED THE PROHIBITION OF NEW GASOLINE POWERED VEHICLE SALES IN LINE WITH THAT DEADLINE SET BY OTHER STATES.

(Gov. Ned Lamont)
“The transportation sector is where we’re most at risk. The transportation sector is where we’re not making real progress, the transportation sector is creating more global warming and more co2 emissions.”

(Jack Alymer)

BUT CONCERNS OVER THE HIGH COST OF EVS, THE AVAILABILITY OF CHARGING STATIONS AND THE ABILITY OF THE STATE’S ELECTRIC GRID TO HANDLE THE TRANSITION LED TO A BIPARTISAN MOVEMENT IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE TO SLOW DOWN THIS PROPOSAL.

(CT State Sen. Kevin Kelly)
“What the administration would like to do is just state a goal, mandate the purchase of electric vehicles in 2035, with no plan to get there. No plan.”

(CT State Sen. Ryan Fazio)
“This extreme policy, which is copy and pasted from the state of California, will only make Connecticut much more unaffordable, and increase the risk of rolling blackouts.”

(Jack Alymer)

CONNECTICUT’S PLAN WOULD HAVE MIRRORED THE AUTOMOTIVE EMISSIONS REGULATIONS CALIFORNIA ADOPTED IN 2021, SETTING THE STAGE FOR OTHER STATES TO FOLLOW.

VERMONT, NEW YORK, WASHINGTON, OREGON, MASSACHUSETTS, VIRGINIA, RHODE ISLAND AND MARYLAND HAVE ALL COMMITTED TO JOINING THESE EFFORTS.

LAST WEEK, NEW JERSEY BECAME THE LATEST TO GET ON BOARD.

THE STATE HAS NOW PLEDGED TO BEGIN LIMITING SALES ON NEW GAS POWERED VEHICLES BY 20-27, BEFORE PHASING THEM OUT COMPLETELY BY 20-35.

BACK IN APRIL THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION PROPOSED NEW AUTOMOBILE POLLUTION LIMITS THAT WOULD REQUIRE UP TO TWO-THIRDS OF NEW VEHICLES SOLD IN THE U.S. TO BE ELECTRIC BY 20-32.

(President Joe Biden)
“We’re building the future of the electric vehicle … All told my administration is investing more than $135 billion to advance America’s electric vehicle future.”

(Jack Alymer)

DESPITE THE SETBACK ENCOUNTERED IN CONNECTICUT, STATE OFFICIALS REMAIN OPTIMISTIC AN EVENTUAL REQUIREMENT FOR NEW VEHICLES SOLD IN THE STATE TO GENERATE ZERO TAILPIPE EMISSIONS WILL TAKE SHAPE IN THE NEAR FUTURE.