RED LODGE — A group of lawmakers in Wyoming say ‘no’ to electric cars. The move comes in response to states across the country that have announced plans to phase out internal combustion gasoline engines.
Senate Joint Resolution 4, introduced by Casper Republican Senator Jim Anderson, calls for phasing out sales of new electric vehicles in Wyoming by 2035.
The bill, which was sponsored by five other Republican lawmakers, says electric vehicles are impractical in Wyoming and internal combustion engines underpin Wyoming’s oil and gas industry.
Speaking on Fox Business Monday, Anderson said the move was almost symbolic.
“We just wanted to make this statement because we’re seeing a nationwide move to phase out our cars,” Anderson told Fox.
But interest in and use of electric vehicles is growing in Wyoming, says Dr. Scott Anderson, who organizes the Tesla Owners Club in Jackson Hole.
Dr. Anderson says there are about 300 Teslas driving around Jackson, which is good evidence for the town’s population.
“It’s a community effort that we all need to make some changes to improve our health and the environment in which we live,” said Dr. Anderson.
Dr. Anderson emphasized one point in Sen. Anderson’s resolution. Wyoming does not have the infrastructure to support electric vehicles or electric vehicle charging stations.
“I think Wyoming, like other states, should have that infrastructure in place,” Dr. Anderson said. I think.”
At a historic inn in Montana’s cross-state Red Lodge, electric vehicle traffic is driving business growth.
Yodeler Inn owner Mac Dean said: “Right now, it averages one or two a week during the summer.”
The Yodeler Inn has 4 electric car chargers, 3 Teslas and 1 Universal. Dean set up six years before him and brought extra business to the inn.
“We are the Destination Charger,” Dean said. “If people want to use our chargers, they have to book a room. It just takes our hands even further.”
As for the electric vehicle bill in the Montana legislature, two bills have been introduced in this legislature. Regis wants to tax electric vehicle charging stations and add registration fees for EVs. This, like electric vehicle travel in the future, is an expected and inevitable move, Dean said.
“I can’t say about Wyoming, but they’re coming regardless,” Dean said. “You either participate in the program or you don’t.”