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Lamont and CT Republicans at odds over electrifying state vehicle sales

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 Republicans and Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont are at odds over electrifying the state’s vehicle sales by 2035.

Both sides have spoken out about the issue ahead of a vote in the legislature's Regulations Review Committee scheduled for Nov. 28.

Connecticut committed to adopting the California emission standards for cars in 2004. But last year, those standards were amended to end the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035.

Now, it's up to the Regulation Review Committee to decide if those amendments are reasonable.

The committee is made up of six senators and eight representatives, half Democrat and half Republican. All of the Republicans have said they will vote against adopting the standards, citing concerns about the electric grid, the cost to car shoppers and the availability of charging stations. Democratic members haven’t signaled which way they’ll vote.

A tie would result in the standards being adopted.

House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora (R-Guilford) said the entire legislature should be able to vote on adopting the standards — not just the Regulation Review Committee.

“They fully are within their discretion to take a pause on these regulations and vote no, so we can have the conversation in the legislature,” Candelora said.

But Lamont said the standards should just be adopted.

“The more scale you get on EVs, the more you bring down price and affordability,” Lamont said. “The price of EVs is already down about 1/3 in the last few years. I don't think now is the time for Connecticut to be the first state to walk away from our commitment on 2035.”

New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have adopted the standards.

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