Virginia Senate Democrats block repeal of EV mandate

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Democrats on a Virginia state Senate committee voted down Republican attempts to roll back the state’s vehicle emissions law on Tuesday. The law, passed in 2021, will phase in a requirement that all new cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs offered for sale be zero emissions vehicles by 2035. This mandate, commonly referred to as an electric vehicle (EV) mandate, would prohibit the sale of new gas-powered cars.

Democrats narrowly hold a majority in both state chambers, putting some of the legislature’s decisions at odds with the agenda of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin. The law in question initiated the state’s transition phase out of the sale of new gas-powered vehicles, a plan introduced by California’s Air Resources Board. Sixteen other states have adopted California’s EV standards, according to the US Department of Energy.

The repeal bills that are still alive in the Virginia House of Delegates could protect consumers’ freedom to buy new gas-powered vehicles in the state. However, local newspaper The Virginia Mercury predicts that, “Several House Republicans have introduced similar bills [to protect gas-powered car sales], which are likely to meet the same fate in the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources.”

At the federal level, the House of Representatives in September passed H.R. 1435, the “Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act,” by a bipartisan vote of 222-190. The legislation would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from granting waivers to states that directly or indirectly limit the sale or use of new vehicles with internal combustion engines. 

At the state and federal levels, lawmakers need to take action to protect against this attack on freedom and ensure that gas-powered cars are available to the American public.