Washington State is long overdue to electrify its government fleet of vehicles. Its public fleet electrification law, passed in 2007, required government entities to satisfy 100% of their fuel usage for operating publicly owned vehicles from electricity or biofuel to the extent practicable.
In 2018, we raised concerns in our report, Recharge Required, about the overwhelming lack of compliance with this law. At that time, more than ten years after the law was enacted, less than 1% of the more than 30,000 vehicles owned by the state, cities, counties, and other public entities were electric vehicles (EVs). Only four of the 31 local governmental entities surveyed had plans for electrifying their fleet.
Now Gov. Inslee has issued an executive order calling for 100% of state-owned light duty vehicles to be electric by 2035 and medium- and heavy-duty state vehicles to be electric by 2040. The order makes no reference to the thousands of vehicles owned by cities and counties.
Scientists say we must cut carbon emissions in half by 2030. This executive order, coming 14 years after the public fleet electrification law was enacted and setting dates 14 and 19 years in the future to achieve electrification of light- and medium/heavy-duty state fleets, is woefully insufficient.
Gov. Inslee has also failed to phase out sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles — in direct opposition to the legislature. Last spring, the governor vetoed legislation, passed by both chambers of the legislature, that would have put Washington State on the path to requiring that all light duty vehicles of model-year 2030 and later sold in the state to be electric.
While we applaud Gov. Inslee’s long overdue executive order to electrify the state’s public fleets, much more is needed to meet our climate goals. We call on Gov. Inslee to require all state and local public fleets to be electric by 2030 and to require all new light-duty vehicles sold in the state to be electric by 2030.
This governor holds in his hands the power to make Washington the country’s leader and a role model in vehicle electrification – creating thousands of jobs, saving consumers money, growing the economy, and bringing clean air and water to the state. We urge him to step up.