All New Cars Must Be Zero-Emission in Oregon by 2035

Slow Down, Auto Dealers say

All New Cars Must Be Zero-Emission in Oregon by 2035
An electric car charges up in San Pedro, Calif., on Dec. 2, 2021. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times via TNS)
Beth Brelje

The number of new, gas-powered vehicles for sale in Oregon will dwindle over the next 12 years as new environmental regulations ramp up to full enforcement.

Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission agreed Monday to require 100 percent of new, light-duty vehicle sales in Oregon to be zero-emission by the 2035 model year.

Auto manufacturers must deliver to Oregon only zero-emission vehicles by then. The percentage of zero-emission vehicles auto manufacturers are allowed to sell in the state will climb until then. In three years, the state will require 35 percent of vehicles sold by manufacturers to be zero-emission.

Here are the requirements according to a presentation during the meeting.

Model Year—Zero-Emission Percentage Requirement

2026—35 percent 2027— 43 percent 2028—51 percent 2029—59 percent 2030—68 percent 2031—76 percent 2032—82 percent 2033—88 percent 2034—94 percent 2035—100 percent

The new rule only applies to new vehicles.

“It doesn't have anything to do with the used car market. And if you are absolutely wedded to an internal combustion engine, you can still register it in the state. You just have to buy it out of the state,” Commissioner Molly Kile said during a discussion on Monday before voting for the rule.

She stressed that the rule is not a ban on gas cars.

“This is an opportunity, and it's really geared towards the manufacturers. There will be gas cars. There will be plug-in hybrid options. There will be battery options. And who knows, in the future, there might be hydrogen options.”

Auto Dealers Say Slow Down

But the new rule does not set well with auto dealers.

“We understand the desire to move towards more environmentally friendly sales of vehicles; however, the consumer demand is not there yet, or even 12 years from now, in 2035," Greg Remensperger, executive vice president of the Oregon Auto Dealers Association, told The Epoch Times.

"We just don't think the industry is going to be at a point where it will serve as 100 percent of the consumer demands,” Remensperger said.

He believes the rule may result in people keeping their gas-powered vehicles on the road longer, something he says the Environmental Council should want to prevent as newer gas vehicles continue to advance in green technology.

The auto dealers had asked for a delay or some off-ramps in case the industry does not transition quickly enough to meet consumer and workforce needs.

“They said they'll review as time goes by, but they felt they needed to do this in order to force the manufacturers to get down to that level of production,” Remensperger said.

“We're more a fan of: let the markets determine what direction they want to go when consumer demand is greater than what it is right now. Rather than raise it to 100 percent, let's get to 30 percent first and then 50 percent, and then start looking at it," he said.

"But we're far from that at this point, so it's hard to imagine that in 12 short years, we will be at a point where that will be the only thing dealers will be allowed to sell in Oregon. We don't want to drive consumers to leave the state to buy somewhere else. They should be able to buy it in their hometown from the dealers that are part of their community."

Currently, less than 10 percent of consumers are driving electric vehicles, Remensperger said.

 An EV Go station for charging electric vehicles in Irvine, Calif., on March 25, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
An EV Go station for charging electric vehicles in Irvine, Calif., on March 25, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Infrastructure Needs

During the discussion and presentation, environmental quality commissioners noted that consumers want the electric vehicle industry to evolve. That means longer rides between recharging.

Currently, the commission is asking manufacturers to meet a 150-mile minimum. Some manufacturers are working on next-generation electric vehicles capable of 300-400 miles between charges, they said.

The state is offering incentives for manufacturers to produce vehicles that sell for less than $20,000 to make them more accessible to lower-income drivers. There was also discussion of people sharing rides more often as a way to save money.

The commission noted that consumers would want to know how much battery life is left on used electric vehicles as a way to bolster the used electric car market and provide more affordable vehicles for lower-income people.

Additional Charging Stations

The Oregon Department of Transportation will spend $100 million to build more electric vehicle charging stations along major transportation corridors and in rural and underserved areas of the state over the next five years.

"Oregon continues to see the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions across the state – with extreme heat, more severe wildfires, winter storms and flooding and prolonged drought – and I am committed to addressing the climate crisis with urgency," Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement.

"Reducing emissions from the transportation sector is a significant part of Oregon's comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the ACC II Rule is a major step towards meeting our goals, while also advancing equitable access to electric vehicles for all Oregonians by supporting the development of a robust used zero-emission vehicle market.”

The commission expects that 50 percent of vehicles will be gas-powered and the other half will be zero emissions by 2035.

Beth Brelje is a national, investigative journalist covering politics, wrongdoing, and the stories of everyday people facing extraordinary circumstances. Send her your story ideas: [email protected]
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