McKee says by 2035, all new cars imported for sale in Ocean State will be non-gas powered

This is a photo of an electric Nissan car being at a charging station. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Gov. Dan McKee says Rhode Island is joining other states, including Massachusetts, in fighting climate change — requiring all new cars imported for sale in the Ocean State be non-gas powered by 2035.

McKee said Wednesday that the state is adopting a policy that focuses on controlling carbon pollution by cutting tailpipe emissions from cars, trucks, and SUVs.

Rhode Island will adopt the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII) and Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) standards.

“The Act on Climate put us on the clock for meeting major carbon reduction mandates, and it’s clear to me that Rhode Island will only meet the mandates by addressing the transportation sector head-on,” said McKee.

The Democrat said that manufacturers are already taking action to meet consumer demand and these emerging regulatory requirements.

By 2030, McKee says Ford zero-emission vehicle production will be 40% of all cars manufactured, Volvo production will be 100% ZEVs, Volkswagen will be 50% ZEVs, and Nissan 40%.

Ten years later, McKee says, Honda will only make ZEVs. Tesla already is producing 100% ZEVs.

“Implementing the Advanced Clean Cars II and Advanced Clean Trucks policy will help us do exactly that, minimize smog across the state but especially in environmental justice communities, and ensure adequate customer choice on electric vehicles in the future,” he said.

The Ocean State’s 2019 inventory of GHG emissions found 4.29 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year from transportation sector — 39.7% of all Rhode Island emissions, McKee says. These regulations would reduce that number to 2.92 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year by 2030 — a 32% decrease in this sector.

Rhode Island Republicans pushed back on the announcement Wednesday outlining several concerns.

“This is another unfunded mandate with arbitrary deadlines pushed forth for the illusion of being on the cutting edge of climate change action, that ignores the potential economic harm to Rhode Islanders and the real possibility of a devastating infrastructure failure,” said Senate Minority Whip Gordon Rogers.

House Minority Leader Michael Chippendale echoed a similar sentiment saying in part, “Rhode Islanders will not relinquish to unrealistic deadlines, nor have their consumer freedoms abolished to the whims of a steering committee that is out of touch with their day to day struggles.”

Those in support of the initiative noted that these mandates are designated for manufacturers and not consumers.

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