Connecticut the latest state to plan for zero-emissions cars by 2035 

CONNECTICUT HAS proposed regulations would require auto dealerships in the state to begin progressively selling more zero- or low-emission vehicles, including passenger cars, SUVs and light trucks, in 2027 and through 2035, until the new mandate would begin. / PBN FILE PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut is joining Rhode Island and other states with plans to halt the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. 

Proposed state regulations would require auto dealerships in Connecticut to begin progressively selling more zero- or low-emission vehicles, including passenger cars, SUVs and light trucks, in 2027 and through 2035, until the new mandate would begin. 

The regulations also require increasing percentages of electric medium and heavy-duty electric vehicles, such as dump trucks, sold in the state by 2032, depending on the vehicle class. The concept was part of a wide-ranging law passed in 2022 that adopted California’s clean air standards for certain trucks in an effort to reduce vehicle emissions. 

California air regulators adopted regulations last summer to have all new cars, pickup trucks and SUVs be electric or hydrogen by 2035. 

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“I think we’re doing it smart,” Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said at a news conference held this week at a Toyota dealership. He said he’s spoken with the “auto guys” about the proposed 2035 deadline and asked if Connecticut was moving too fast. 

“They say, ‘keep your pedal to the metal'” and by that I mean “make sure we have a clear idea that Connecticut is not alone, it’s going to be one of the states where it’s all electric (in) 2023. That makes it easier for us to design and build (vehicles),'” Lamont said. 

Connecticut joins Rhode Island, Maryland, New Jersey and New Mexico in announcing plans to adopt the new standards. Massachusetts, New York and Vermont finalized adoption of the rules this year or in late 2022. 

On May 10, Gov. Daniel J. McKee said Rhode Island will end sales of gas-powered vehicles by 2035 with the adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II and Advanced Clean Trucks standards. 

The move is part of the state’s effort to combat climate change and gain net-zero emissions by 2050. 

The rules do not affect used cars or regulate auto dealers or customers. Gasoline-powered cars will still be able to be driven in Rhode Island, registered with the R.I. Department of Motor Vehicles, and sold as used cars, according to the state.

Advanced Clean Cars II, predecessor to the Act on Climate that Rhode Island adopted in 2021, is a set of regulations that originated in California to reduce smog-causing pollution and emissions from California’s light-duty vehicle fleet. The act also requires an increase of zero-emission vehicle sales from 35% in 2026 to 100% in 2035. Eligible vehicles include battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles, allowing for customer choice. 

The Connecticut Department Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner is accepting public comment on the proposed regulations until Aug. 23. DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said she expects they will be ready for legislative approval by the end of year. 

The regulations would only apply to vehicle manufacturers and would not affect used gas-powered cars, which would still be allowed to be driven in Connecticut. 

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