A bold proposal from a state lawmaker to ban the sale of new vehicles that run only on gasoline.
It’s a move that the Hawaii automobile industry says goes against the goal of going green.
Representative Takashi Ohno, who introduced the bill, admits it’s an ambitious proposal. But he says the idea is to get the conversation started.
“I want visitors from around the world to come to Hawaii one day and see our streets full of green vehicles and leave feeling inspired,” said Rep. Ohno.
He wants to ban Hawaii dealerships from selling new cars that run solely on fossil fuels or gasoline in 2030. So dealers would only be allowed to sell hybrids, electric, or hydrogen powered vehicles.
But a spokesman for auto dealers says this sends a bad message to auto manufacturers and could hurt the industry, which is also trying to get more drivers to drive environmentally friendly cars.
“Dealers have worked ardently to try to hit these goals and when bans come in, it invariably just causes disruption in the marketplace. We say the transition is gonna be an evolution, not a revolution,” said Dave Rolf of the Hawaii Auto Dealers Association.
He says the 10-year goal is also not practical because we won’t have the infrastructure for it.
“If there wouldn’t be enough electric infrastructure or there wouldn’t be enough hydrogen infrastructure, you still have to operate using gasoline or at least as a hybrid to get you part of the way there,” said Rolf.
Rep. Ohno says he’s not sure how much support the bill has with other lawmakers. But it would be helpful to get the proposal discussed at public hearings to generate ideas, and perhaps reach a compromise that could satisfy all sides.
“There’s gonna be ample room for people to come and weigh in on my idea and I know that’s part of the process and the bill that’s introduced today in January is very likely not what it’s gonna look like in May, if it even gets that far,” said Rep. Ohno.
He also points out that Hawaii remains the most fossil fuel dependent state in the country. And the Hawaii Clean Energy Intiative’s goal is to run on 100% clean energy by 2045.