by Christian Wade
A majority of Connecticut voters oppose a Democrat-led push to phase out the sale of gas-powered vehicles in the state, according to a new poll.
The poll commissioned by the Specialty Equipment Market Association — a trade association representing aftermarket auto manufacturers and retailers — found that nearly 60% of the voters surveyed opposed proposed legislation to phase out the sale of gas- and diesel-powered cars and trucks over the next decade.
“Voters are primarily concerned that the state’s infrastructure cannot support an influx of electric vehicles, that electric vehicles are unaffordable, and that a ban would restrict individual choice,” pollsters wrote in a summary of the results. “While Connecticut voters are concerned about climate change, a majority are unwilling to drive only electric vehicles.”
At least 67% of surveyed voters believe electric vehicles pose environmental threats like mining and extracting rare minerals for batteries. About 56% consider the proposed rules government overreach that would limit their vehicle choices.
It also found that more than half of those surveyed, or 51%, said they would be less likely to vote for an elected official who supports a ban on new gas-powered cars.
The polling was conducted after Gov. Ned Lamont pulled the plug on a plan that would have required auto manufacturers to ramp up sales of electric vehicles in the state, leading to a ban on the sale of new fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2035.
Lamont took the step after it became clear that there weren’t enough votes in a Democratic-controlled legislative committee to advance the proposal.
But Lamont and other Democratic leaders have said they will consider a new proposal to approve the restrictions in the upcoming legislative session.
More than a dozen states — including New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey — have formally adopted California’s stringent vehicle emissions standards. They’ve been prodded by environmental groups who want to accelerate a nationwide shift to electric vehicles to help blunt the impact of climate change.
Supporters of the mandate point out the Connecticut restrictions wouldn’t completely ban gas-powered vehicles and argue that the changes are needed to help the state meet its climate change goals.
However, the effort has faced pushback from those who argue that it will force people to buy expensive electric vehicles and could impact regional power supplies. Critics also point out that Connecticut lacks the infrastructure to support a full-fledged shift to electric vehicles.
House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said the poll’s findings confirm feedback Republicans have gotten from constituents that Connecticut voters don’t want to be forced to buy electric vehicles.
“This proposal is half-baked,” he posted on social media. “Every Connecticut resident should have their eyes wide open to attempts from the Governor and Democrats to fast-pitch tweaks to their proposal, advertised as wholesale change, that produce the same result: the end of your freedom to buy the car you want.”
– – –