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Nearly half of voters oppose gas-powered car sale ban in Washington, WA Poll shows

Rural voters and voters in eastern Washington are more likely to oppose the ban. Voters in western Washington and the Seattle Metro area were more split.

OLYMPIA, Wash — More voters are opposed to a ban on the sale of new gas-powered vehicles in Washington state than in support of it, according to new WA Poll results released Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced the state would ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles beginning in 2035, following California's lead.

The move is a "critical milestone" in the fight against climate change, Inslee said. California's guidelines would require all new cars, trucks and SUVs to run on electricity or hydrogen.

Washington lawmakers decided in 2019 that the state would adopt California's zero-emission vehicle rules in accordance with the federal Clean Air Act.

Of voters polled, 48% responded saying they opposed or somewhat opposed Inslee's announcement, with 38% saying they supported or somewhat supported the decision. Another 14% of voters responded saying they weren't sure how they felt about the ban.

Support and opposition to the gas-powered vehicle ban varied among party and ideological lines.

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Broken down by party affiliation, a majority of Republican voters responded in opposition to the ban, while 15% expressed support. A majority of Democrats supported the ban, with just under a quarter saying they oppose it. Of Independent voters who responded, 58% said they opposed the ban, with 27% expressing support.

Support for the ban was especially high among respondents who identified as very liberal, and low among those who identified as very conservative.

Rural voters and voters located in eastern Washington are more likely to oppose the ban. However, voters in western Washington and the Seattle metro area were relatively split on their response to banning gas-powered cars. The response was also split among voters between 18-49, while voters between 50-65+ were more likely to oppose a future gas-powered car ban, the results showed.

The state's next challenge in the lead-up to the gas-powered car ban will be providing enough charging stations to support a major influx of electric vehicles. However, federal money has been earmarked to build out Washington's vehicle charging infrastructure.

The Washington State Department of Transportation released its EV infrastructure deployment plan in July. The plan says the priority deployments will include completing the state’s north/south and east/west interstates, I-5 and I-90. Secondary priorities for investments include completing the I-82/I-182 and US 395 AFCs, followed by US 101 and US 195.

The WA Poll was commissioned by KING 5, The Seattle Times, University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public and Washington State University’s Murrow College of Communication and was conducted by SurveyUSA. It surveyed 875 adults from Oct. 14-19, 2022. Of those adults, 719 were registered voters. The poll represented the demographics of Washington state with 46% from the metro Seattle area, 30% from western Washington and 24% from eastern Washington.

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