Washington Senate bill would ban certain car tires, vehicle idling

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(The Center Square) – As the Washington Interagency Electric Vehicle Coordinating Council contemplates its agenda for next year’s legislative session, the state Senate is on the verge of passing a bill based on some of its recommendations that would ban certain types of car tires as well as prohibit diesel-vehicle idling.

Last month, the EVCC submitted its Transportation Electrification Strategy, which included 86 policy recommendations related to transitioning away from fossil fuel vehicles and toward EVs.

Senate Bill 6304, sponsored by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo, would enact many of those recommendations. Among the bill’s provisions is a directive for the state Department of Commerce to ban the sale of replacement tires for passenger cars and light duty trucks that don’t meet California’s tire energy efficiency standards.

The bill would also allow direct sales from electric vehicle automakers to consumers and ban diesel vehicles from idling for more than five minutes any at location, while diesel-trucks would be prohibited from idling for more than five minutes within 100 feet of certain locations.

At a Feb. 1 public hearing, Liias said, “I have a longstanding belief that when the Legislature asks groups to dos extensive work on their behalf, we owe an obligation to consider the recommendations that they deliver to us.”

As first reported by KIRO Radio, the substitute version of SB 6304 ultimately voted out of committee on Monday through executive action replaced the section of the bill regarding tire sales with bill language from House Bill 2262, which failed to clear House Transportation Committee. The substitute bill also tacked on a $300 to $1,000 fine for any driver caught idling for more than five minutes.

Opposed to the no-idling policy at the bill’s Feb. 1 public hearing was Jeff DeVere with the Washington Trucking Association.

“It seems we’re just going to wholesale adopt those rules without consideration to the environment we have here in Washington,” he said. “I think we really need to take a look at these, how this works here. We need to start looking past just putting this on the backs of trucks.”

Speaking against the bill before Monday’s vote, Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, criticized how the bill would give Commerce discretion on how much an idling fee would be while noting the high cost of converting vehicle fleets to EVs.

“And that doesn’t include if you live in a cold climate and have to build a new facility,” he said. “I believe this bill isn’t ready for prime time.”

Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Puyallup, expressed similar views, saying that “we are trying to dictate from the top down all of this stuff,” adding that in his opinion hydrogen was “the way of the future” and EVs would “go the way of Betamax. [We’re] spending all of this money to invest in a technology that may, in a few years, be obsolete.”

SB 6304 has been placed on second reading by the Rules Committee.

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