Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Delaware lawmakers approve bill requiring qualifying state vehicles to be zero-emission by 2040

Delaware Legislative Hall
Delaware Public Media
Delaware Legislative Hall

The Delaware General Assembly gives the final approval to convert state-operated passenger and light-duty vehicles to zero-emission vehicles by 2040.

State Sen. Sarah McBride (D-Wilmington) explains the bill aims to reduce the state’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

"Not only do we have an obligation to reduce the impact [combustion engine] vehicles have on our beautiful state, but... we all swore an oath to respect the right of future generations to share in Delaware's natural heritage. A heritage that is directly harmed by the greenhouse gas emissions produced by our state's vehicle fleet," she said.

The bill lists additional benchmarks, including 25% conversion by 2029 and 50% by 2032 before 100% completion in 2040.

The legislation is expected to cost $2.5 million over the next three years with the Office of Management and Budget covering the cost of one electric vehicle charger for every two vehicles.

The shift is expected to allow for an average reduction of 2875kg of carbon reduction per year per vehicle with estimated annual fuel savings of $265 per electric vehicle.

The bill exempts law enforcement vehicles, Department of Education vehicles, such as school buses and plow trucks, as well as vehicles designated for employee take-home use prior to 2035.

State Sen. Eric Buckson (R-Dover South) was the only Republican legislator in either chamber to support the bill.

He explains he is strongly opposed to the state’s mandate on requiring 82% of new cars sent to Delaware for sale to be zero-emission vehicles by 2032, but he believes this bill encourages state accountability.

“What I have often said is that if the state wants to take the lead, they can do that. We shouldn’t force our citizens to do that, but if the state wants to take a lead in some form or fashion, they can do that, and I believe that’s where we are with this bill," Buckson said.

Other Republican senators expressed their reservations about the bill, including House Minority Whip Brian Pettyjohn (R-Georgetown), who raised concerns of vehicle operators having to spend unnecessary time at charging stations.

McBride responded saying she believes charging technology will continue to advance and become less of a burden.

The bill awaits Gov. John Carney’s signature to officially become law.

Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.
Related Content