Wyoming, a state known for its oil and gas industry, is considering a resolution that aims to phase out the sales of new electric vehicles (EVs) by 2035. Senate Joint Resolution 4, introduced on Friday, has support from members of the state’s House of Representatives and Senate. The resolution, led by Senator Jim Anderson, states that Wyoming’s oil and gas industry has created “countless” jobs and contributed revenue to the state’s economy. It also argues that a lack of charging infrastructure within the state would make the widespread use of EVs “impracticable” and that the state would need to build “massive amounts of new power generation” to “sustain the misadventure of electric vehicles.”
SJ4 calls for residents and businesses to limit the sale and purchase of EVs voluntarily, with the goal of phasing them out entirely by 2035. If passed, the resolution would be entirely symbolic. It is more about sending a message to EV advocates than banning vehicles altogether. To that point, the final section of SJ4 calls for Wyoming’s Secretary of State to send President Biden and California Governor Gavin Newsom copies of the resolution.
Senator Boner, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said “I’m interested in making sure that the solutions that some folks want to the so-called climate crisis are actually practical in real life. I just don’t appreciate when other states try to force technology that isn’t ready.” While the resolution may seem like a political stunt, it does allude to genuine economic anxiety. Wyoming produced 85.43 million barrels of oil in 2021, making it the country’s eighth-largest crude oil producer that year. The state’s Carbon County is also home to one of the largest wind farms in the US.
This resolution raises questions about how the world can transition to a zero-emissions economy in an equitable way. People in many rural US states are mistrustful of so-called green technologies because they haven’t benefited from more recent technological shifts as much as their urban counterparts. For example, many rural communities don’t have access to broadband internet, which has contributed to diminishing economic opportunities in those places.
It remains to be seen if the resolution will pass or not, but it does highlight the challenges and complexities of transitioning to a zero-emissions economy. It is important for policymakers to consider the economic impacts of this transition and how to ensure that it is equitable for all communities.