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News for January 23, 2022

Washington Residents to Get Thousands of Dollars Back When They Buy EVs Under Latest Proposal

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According to a portion of the 2022 budget proposal as revealed on Monday by Washington Governor Jay Inslee at an event in Olympia, Washingtonians will get thousands of dollars back when they buy electric vehicles.

Inslee declared that he wants to have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in making electric cars more affordable for Washington residents.

He has proposed $100 million per year on an ongoing basis for an electronic vehicle (EV) rebate program. It will give consumers $7,500 when they purchase a new EV, $5,000 when they purchase a used EV, and $1,000 for zero-emission e-bikes and motorcycles.

If approved, the rebates will be available to those who earn less than $250,000 per year. Residents who earn less than $61,000—which is 60 percent of the median state income—will also receive an additional rebate of $5,000 on purchasing EVs, whether used or new.

“These kinds of rebates have already been adopted in several states,” Inslee said.

The rebates would be enacted in addition to the existing sales tax exemptions for electric vehicle buyers.

There are also plans to electrify Washington’s ferry fleet. As per Inslee: Ferries are a significant source of the state’s emissions and are powered by diesel engines, producing exhaust that is harmful to the health of humans and the environment. He suggested $91 million to buy hybrid electric ferries for the fleet and convert another. (The total cost over the next three years would be $323 million.)

“We need new boats desperately,” Inslee said.

Inslee’s proposals also include the use of tens of millions of dollars to electrify the state’s automobile fleet (which Inslee promised to do in November, in an executive decree) and encourage the use of electric vehicles across the state.

Public transit, biking, and pedestrian infrastructure would be doled out some funds under the proposals.

Additionally, Inslee has proposed a policy making all new structures constructed from 2034 or later to be “net-zero ready,” meaning they will have to cut down on energy use by 80 percent and utilize electrical appliances, all-electric equipment, have the capacity for solar panels, and incorporate electric vehicle charging and battery storage.

This proposal also gives local authorities the option of adopting a more robust state-wide “reach code” that covers residential construction, “preventing a patchwork of different energy-related building requirements across the state,” according to a briefing on policy.

Local authorities do not currently have the power to create standards for energy codes in residential buildings higher than state-wide requirements.

Other building-related plans proposed by Inslee include higher energy efficiency performance standards for multi-family and commercial buildings, permitting public utilities to offer incentives to customers looking to shift from fossil fuels to electric heating, and requiring gas companies to submit plans for emissions reductions to the State Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Additionally, he wants to raise more than $25 million towards improving energy use efficiency in homes of low-income families and state buildings.

Inslee is set to reveal his complete 2022 supplemental budget proposal tomorrow (December 16).

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