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U-turn: Wyoming lawmakers propose bill to phase out EVs by 2035

This move comes as Western states like California, Oregon and Washington move to ban the sale of new gas-powered and diesel-powered vehicles

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Electric cars charge at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020.

Electric cars charge at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

While many parts of the world are pushing for the maintained adoption of electric vehicles, the state of Wyoming might be taking a different stance.

Bringing the debate over EVs into the political sphere, a proposed bill expresses support “for phasing out the sale of new electric vehicles in Wyoming by 2035.”

It is sponsored by four state senators and two representatives.

What is in the bill to ban EVs?

Here is what the proposed bill SJ0004 contains:

  • The bill opens by stating that oil and gas have been valued industries in the state, creating countless jobs and revenue. 
  • It notes that Wyoming’s vast stretches of highway don’t have charging infrastructure, which would make EVs impractical for the state.

  • These clean vehicles have batteries that aren’t easy to recycle and use critical minerals, which are limited in supply, the bill argues.
  • Further, the bill states that the U.S. will need to make huge investments in the industry for EVs to flourish, while that infrastructure already exists for fossil-fuel-powered cars.
  • “The proliferation of electric vehicles at the expense of gas-powered vehicles will have deleterious impacts on Wyoming’s communities and will be detrimental to Wyoming’s economy and the ability for the country to efficiently engage in commerce,” the bill says.

Wyoming moves away from California’s EV policies

This move comes as Western states like California, Oregon and Washington move to ban the sale of new gas-powered and diesel-powered vehicles.

“We are countering what California and Oregon have started with stopping sales of new petroleum vehicles,” Sen. Jill Anderson, one of the sponsors, said on Monday, per Fox Business.

“We are very concerned about the source of minerals in countries with poor environmental laws, and we are very concerned about the disposal of the battery, which will be hazardous materials.”

According to USA Today, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont are expected to follow California’s trend as well.

Wyoming will receive $24 million over the span of five years from the federal government to improve charging infrastructure in the state.

“Electric cars are of great benefit to Wyoming,” Marc Geller, spokesman for the Electric Vehicle Association, a California-based nonprofit that advocates for the use of EVs, told The Post.

Geller joked that instead of banning electric cars, “maybe we should ban all cars and go back to horses.”