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Connecticut proposal would require all new cars to be electric by 2035

Governor Ned Lamont, legislators, and advocates admire an electric car at A-1 Toyota in New Haven.
Molly Ingram
Governor Ned Lamont, legislators and advocates admire an electric car at A-1 Toyota in New Haven.

Connecticut officials have proposed a plan that would require car dealerships to exclusively sell electric passenger vehicles by 2035.

It’s in an effort to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions — which the transportation sector disproportionately contributes to.

State leaders want to adopt the same emissions standards as California, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and four other states.

Their proposal includes 90% cleaner emissions by 2035 for medium and heavy-duty gasoline-powered vehicles. By that year, new passenger vehicle sales would have to be electric.

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes said the state needs to move quickly to enact the new regulations.

“It's so urgent for us to move forward with tackling these emissions, especially because the transportation sector contributes 40% of the greenhouse gas emissions produced here in the state of Connecticut,” Dykes said at A1 Toyota in New Haven.

Dykes cited recent weather extremes as a reason to make the switch.

Gov. Ned Lamont said now is the time to buy an electric car.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Lamont said. “It’s the smart thing to do. It’s never been more affordable than it is today. And by the way, you’re also saving the world.”

Some state Republicans say they aren’t in favor of the idea.

"The wholesale elimination of gas-powered vehicles by 2035 is a policy decision that a majority of Americans don't agree with, yet Democrats here, using scary words such as 'survival,' aggressively insist on forcing Connecticut down California's ideological regulatory rabbit hole no matter the financial cost to our state or the people who live here,” House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora said. “These regulatory changes deserve more than smiles and a news conference, and I encourage residents and business owners to weigh in on how this seismic shift will impact their lives.”

State Department of Transportation officials say they are working to build electric vehicle charging stations across the state to support the plan.

Connecticut residents can weigh in on the plan through DEEP’s public comment process until Aug. 23.

Molly is a reporter covering Fairfield County. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.