fbpx Skip to content

Stay Up to Date!

Zip Code
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

And Just Like That Connecticut Will Ban Gas Cars

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has recently revealed two regulations, one banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles and the other one gradually prohibiting the sale of new gas-powered trucks that are used to ship goods and provide essential services. 

Instead of being open and transparent with these regulations that will affect everyone in the state, DEEP chose to schedule a public hearing on the matter on Aug. 22 — one of the most traveled months of the year. 

Apart from a July 27 press release from Gov. Ned Lamont, the department has provided minimal information to the public regarding the forthcoming hearing. There has been a notable lack of communication on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, with the exception of a single post (see below) that conveyed the impression this was a done deal. Important information about the upcoming public hearing and any guidance on the process for submitting written testimony was conveniently left out. 

The introduction of these regulations stemmed from a Connecticut statute specifying that “On or before December 31, 2004, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to implement the light duty motor vehicle emission standards of the state of California, and shall amend such regulations from time to time in accordance with changes in said standards.” 

The law goes on to read, “Nothing in this section shall prohibit the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection from establishing a program to require the sale, purchase and use of motor vehicles which comply with any regulations adopted by the commissioner which implement the California Motor vehicle emissions standards.” 

Additionally, the General Assembly gave the DEEP Commissioner the power to adopt regulations implementing California’s medium- and heavy-duty motor vehicle standards during the 2022 legislative session. 

In other words, Connecticut’s energy policy is governed by California. 

State Republican House and Senate members held a press conference on Wed. (Aug. 16) where they criticized the proposal to implement these new emission mandates that will result in heightened affordability challenges for individuals with lower and moderate incomes. 

Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-21st) called the regulations “half baked” and that “This is not a sound environmental policy that has been well thought out and deliberated. Instead, what it is, is an aggressive, extreme agenda that is created by bureaucrats, unelected bureaucrats, to radically change the way people are going to move around our state.” 

He also pointed out that the median income in Connecticut is $40,000 and yet the median cost for an electric vehicle (EV) is $53,000. 

Sen. Kelly also expressed skepticism regarding applying the California model to Connecticut stating, “The notion that we’re going to be dictated to by California and their laws, runs totally contrary to the long history of constitutional government that was christened right here in this city [Hartford]. It’s the People’s Government, not the bureaucrats.” 

House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora (R-86th) called for Gov. Ned Lamont and DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes to “suspend this regulatory process and provide a plan on how we’re going to implement an all-electric vehicle system in the state.” 

Rep. Candelora asked the governor to “be more transparent with this process because we knew it was coming down the pike as California was changing their emission standards.” Rep. Candelora received a response from DEEP Commissioner Dykes — three months later — stating that it will take car manufacturers two years to be able to transition to electric fleets, but she is giving them four years. 

However, the aspect of charging infrastructure for these vehicles was not addressed, raising the point that focusing on the vehicles without considering the necessary energy sources and infrastructure seems completely illogical. 

Also at the press conference, John Blair — President of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut — expressed frustration with DEEP when he was immediately denied a 30-day extension to the public hearing. Blair thought it was only fair that he and his members had a “little more time to prep” on an issue DEEP has been working on since 2004. 

Blair also indicated that his concerns mirror those concerned with cars, saying, “It’s a cost issue.” He went on to say that the price of a diesel truck is $150,000 versus $450,000 for a new electric truck and that he doesn’t know how they are going to come up with that cost. 

He also noted that starting Jan. 1, 2023, the legislature imposed a highway use tax on truckers and that the adverse effects of this tax resulted in the closing of several businesses. He said it is crucial for consumers to understand that “80% of the goods” that get to our homes are delivered by trucks and that these increased costs will be passed down. 

Calling for increased accessibility and transparency, Sen. Kelly proposed a one-week delay and an in-person format for the upcoming public hearing — in a press release on Friday (Aug. 18). 

The Aug. 22 hearing is currently only accessible via Zoom making Sen. Kelly wonder, “Why is such a major potential policy change a Zoom only event?” His concern is that “Low- and middle-income families who stand to be most negatively impacted by this mandate are currently being denied a chance to show up in-person at the State Capitol to speak out about it.”  

He added, “We must enable people to show up in-person in order to question this policy and tell state bureaucrats why they cannot afford these luxury vehicles.” 

No word yet from either Gov. Lamont or Commissioner Dykes on whether they will grant this request. 

Yet, 2035 is twelve years away and it is convenient that DEEP gets to virtue signal about potentially saving the world from CO2, while at the same time sidestepping the real-world challenges and compromises that come with implementing gas vehicle bans. 

Once the public hearing process is completed, DEEP will then choose whether to answer and address the raised concerns. The regulations will then be sent to the states Attorney’s General office for them to sign off on. 

The regulations are then subject to review by the Legislative Regulation Review Committee — a joint bipartisan committee made up of 14 members: six senators and eight representatives divided equally by party. 

The committee can veto the regulations and allow the General Assembly to either uphold or reverse the committee’s veto. However, if the committee takes no action the regulations will be deemed approved. 

Public Hearing and Comment Submitting Info  

Written comments can be emailed to [email protected] 

For car regulation reference # PR2023-023 

For truck regulation reference # PR2023-020 

***Deadline is 5:00 P.M. August 23rd  

Public Hearing on proposed car regulation is scheduled Aug. 22, 9:00 A.M. click HERE to register to speak. (Note: the ZOOM link states the meeting starts at 8:00. It officially starts a 9:00) 

Public Hearing on proposed truck regulation is scheduled Aug. 22, 1:00 P.M. click HERE to register to speak 

Meghan Portfolio

Meghan worked in the private sector for two decades in various roles in management, sales, and project management. She was an intern on a presidential campaign and field organizer in a governor’s race. Meghan, a Connecticut native, joined Yankee Institute in 2019 as the Development Manager. After two years with Yankee, she has moved into the policy space as Yankee’s Manager of Research and Analysis. When she isn’t keeping up with local and current news, she enjoys running–having completed seven marathons–and reading her way through Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *