Senator Hawkins’ FCEV sales tax reduction bill passes major barrierMarch 9, 2021
The proposal is meant to increase adoption of hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles in Washington.
Senator Brad Hawkins’ FCEV bill proposing to slash sales tax on hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicle purchases in Washington state has managed to move beyond an important barrier.
The state Senate voted 49-0 to approve Hawkins’ Senate Bill 5000.
SB 5000 is Hawkins’ FCEV bill that would put into place a statewide pilot project that would run for eight years. It would reduce the sales tax people would be required to pay on the purchase of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.
“I’m pleased to see such strong support from my Senate colleagues for this bill,” stated Hawkins following the vote. “Our state is still in its infancy regarding electric vehicles, so I think it’s helpful to promote different types of zero-emission vehicles, both battery electrics and fuel cell electrics.” Hawkins represents the 12th District. “Washington has the potential to be a key producer of renewable hydrogen, so it makes sense to make it easier to purchase hydrogen-fueled vehicles.”
The FCEV bill would be only one component of a much broader addition of hydrogen to the state economy.
The idea behind SB 5000 is to provide consumers and businesses with a vehicle sales tax exemption comparable to that applied to purchases of electric vehicles.
The Douglas County Public Utility District (PUD), which is located in Hawkins’ district, intends to use its surplus hydropower for the production of hydrogen fuel out of water. This would result in renewable hydrogen fuel produced using renewable hydropower and may lead to the construction of hydrogen fuelling stations as well.
The PUD is building its hydrogen production plant near East Wenatchee. The facility is slated to be finished close to the end of 2021.
Washington state expects that the first of its hydrogen fueling stations will be operational by next year. If the FCEV bill is passed, it would make it possible for up to 650 fuel cell electric vehicles to be purchased at an exemption rate of 50 percent off what would otherwise be paid. This would continue from 2023 through 2029 and the fueling stations would mean that it would be notably more practical to drive these vehicles.