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Oregon bans sales of new gas-powered passenger vehicles by 2035

Oregon bans sales of new gas-powered passenger vehicles by 2035

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A row of electric cars and newly installed charging stations are seen in front of the Portland General Electric headquarters July 28, 2015 in Portland, Oregon.

A row of electric cars and newly installed charging stations are seen in front of Portland General Electric’s headquarters in Portland, Oregon July 28, 2015. Photo: Don Ryan (AP)

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality passed a rule Monday that will ban the sale of new gas-powered automobiles in the state by 2035.

A statement accompanying the new rule explained that all new passenger cars, trucks and SUVs sold in Oregon must be battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. This gives Oregon residents some flexibility, especially for those living in communities with fewer charging stations. The rule also won’t affect gas-powered vehicles already on the road, the Associated Press reported.

The new rule is part of Oregon’s effort to cut emissions by 50% by 2035 and 90% by 2050. There’s a reason state officials want to achieve this goal by electrifying the transit sector. Transportation accounts for 27% of US greenhouse gas emissions, making it the county’s largest contributor to emissions, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Transportation also accounts for 37% of Oregon’s carbon emissions, making it the state’s largest source of emissions, according to the Department of Environmental Quality.

“All who live in Oregon will benefit from the cleaner air and improved public health outcomes that will come from reducing pollution from transportation. This is especially true for low-income and underrepresented communities across the state that live closest to roads and are most often affected by poor air quality,” Leah Feldon, interim director of the Department of Environmental Quality, said in a statement.

To support the increasing number of electric vehicles on the road, the Oregon DoT has committed $100 million to build charging stations over the next five years. According to the state press release, the department intends to place these stations in underserved communities, in rural areas and along key transportation corridors. Oregon automakers have two years to complete initial compliance steps for 2026 model year cars. Some manufacturers have already confirmed efforts to increase production of electric vehicles.

Oregon follows several other states. Last August, California voted to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035, despite being the second-largest gasoline consumer in the US. Other states, like New York, announced their own ban on gas-powered cars this year. Earlier this month, Colorado also released plans to increase EV numbers. But unlike California and Oregon, it plans to make that transition without a gas car ban. Instead, the state Department of Energy has opted to expand charging infrastructure and remove some of the financial challenges of owning EVs.

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