This week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed an executive order requiring that the state government’s cars and small trucks go electric by 2035. The order calls for the fleet of light-duty cars and light trucks to be 40% electric by 2025, 75% by 2030, and 100% by 2035. The order also calls for a full phaseout of fossil fuel-powered larger trucks and vans by 2040.
Washington commissioned a vehicle electrification study that came out a year ago. It concluded that the state’s 56,000 public vehicles could be electrified by 2035. The study also found, however, that as of a year ago, only 2.3% of the state’s agency vehicles, and 3% of all state vehicles, were electrified, signifying a lag in progress towards goals Inslee made in 2015 to have 20% of the state’s purchases be electric by 2017. The state also failed to meet the goals of a state bill passed in 2007 that required all state vehicles to run on electricity or biofuel by 2018. While Washington has had several laws and decrees aiming for electric vehicles before, the goal seems more likely to be reached given the affordability and number of electric vehicles available today.
Transportation is the state’s largest source of carbon pollution, outpacing the electric grid due to Washington’s clean hydropower dam practices. And the state also has some of the cheapest electric rates in the country, making electric vehicles cheaper to fuel.
The state joins Massachusetts and Hawaii in making commitments this year to buy only electric vehicles for state government; Hawaii’s Legislature passed a bill in April that seeks all passenger cars in the state fleet to be electric by 2030 and all light-duty vehicles by 2035, and Massachusetts’ Governor signed an executive order in April seeking 5% EVs in the state fleet by 2025, 20% by 2030, 75% by 2040, and 100% by 2050.