As California adopts the nation’s strictest law to transition to zero-emissions vehicles in the next decade, Oregon officials say they’re set to follow suit.
The California law bans the sale of new gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs in the state by 2035 as a way to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions. It also requires car manufacturers to produce more hydrogen- or electric-powered vehicles.
The landmark law is already having ripple effects, with Washington set to adopt a version of California’s rules by the end of the year. Other states are taking note, including Oregon.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality released a statement saying it’s already in the process of creating its own Advanced Clean Cars II Rules. Currently, Oregon requires auto manufacturers to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles available for sale in the state, beginning with the 2025 model year.
The proposed rule would transition all new light-duty vehicles sales in Oregon to zero-emissions by 2035. It would also update the program to ensure it matches California’s standards.
Susan Mills, a DEQ spokesperson, said the proposed rule is vital to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and support public health.
“The regulation will lead to the production of high-quality electric vehicles and ensure long-lasting emissions benefits,” she said in an emailed statement. “It will also support the development of a robust used zero-emission vehicle market, which will help to advance equitable access to clean mobility solutions and related emissions reductions in low-income and frontline communities.”
According to an agency report, Oregon’s transportation sector accounts for 40% of total greenhouse gas emissions – the largest single source in the state.
A DEQ advisory committee is set to convene its first meeting on the rules next week. A public comment period will open in the fall and the rules could be up for vote by the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission by the end of the year.
Charles Boyle, deputy communications director for Gov. Kate Brown, said Oregon has taken a comprehensive approach toward a clean energy future.
“Reducing emissions from the transportation sector is a significant component of that plan, and Oregon has already established goals for electric vehicle adoption with a focus on making EVs accessible for people living in rural communities, people of color, and people with low incomes,” he said in an emailed statement.
To generate more demand, Oregon has two electric vehicle rebates, which combined can total up to $7,500 for a new electric vehicle. With the recently signed Inflation Reduction Act investing $369 billion in clean energy and climate action, households with low-to-moderate income can now get up to $7,500 in federal tax credits for a new electric vehicle or $4,000 for a used one. That means qualifying Oregonians can get up to a total of $15,000 in rebates for a new electric vehicle.
To date, $55.5 million has been awarded through the state’s rebate programs with $14 million awarded this year. It’s contributing to Gov. Brown’s goal of having at least 250,000 registered electric vehicles in the state by 2025. There are now more than 50,000.
The state also plans to invest $100 million in building fast-charging stations along major roadways, with a focus on serving disadvantaged communities and rural communities over the next five years.