Although it ranked sixth in the country among states, a new report gives Washington’s electric-vehicle policies a score of 54 out of 100. (scharfsinn86/Adobe Stock)

February 5, 2021

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SEATTLE – Washington state is on the right track for electrifying its transportation sector, but still has work to do, according to a new report.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has taken a comprehensive look at states’ policies for deploying electric vehicles, and ranks the Evergreen State sixth in the nation.

The group’s Director of State Policy, Bryan Howard, said Washington could improve in a few key areas.

“Where Washington missed some points was [it] does not have state- or utility-administered programs that provide grants and incentives to help individuals in low-income or distressed communities,” said Howard, “pointing to a few top areas where the Legislature, executive branch and utility regulators could set new policies.”

Howard said the state also could provide purchase incentives for commercial vehicles, like buses and transportation trucks. But he praised its building codes to ensure they’re wired for vehicle charging.

Still, the report gives Washington 54 points out of 100. California was the only state to score more than 90 points.

Howard said it’s also a good sign that Washington has adopted California’s zero-emission vehicles program, which requires passenger-car manufacturers to phase in a growing number of zero-emission vehicles over the next few years.

He added this provides incentives for automakers to move in that direction.

“Those market signals are continuing to grow,” said Howard. “And it bodes well that a strong, supportive state backdrop allows the vehicle manufacturers to feel comfortable that that transition is going to continue, and is going to be supported by state policy.”

The transportation sector is the biggest source of greenhouse gases in the country. Howard said along with mitigating the effects of climate change, the move to reduce emissions has an important impact on people’s health.

“Improving air quality, reducing pollution near major transportation corridors,” said Howard, “those are important quality-of-life issues that obviously have huge impacts beyond just global climate change.”