House votes to stop Ohio from banning gas-only car sales, though that's never been proposed
The Senate will consider a bill to ban the state from demanding vehicles sold in Ohio meet clean air standards tougher than the federal requirements. It also specifically states that no Ohio agency can adopt emission standards set by California, which is banning gas-powered cars by 2035.
The bill was proposed and passed though there’s never been a move to toward banning gas-only cars in Ohio.
The bill’s Republican sponsors say they're concerned about the environment, but Rep. Brent Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) said on the House floor that it's important to make it clear that the state can't ban gas-only cars based on the fuel they use.
"It may sound noble and aspirational, but let's not kid ourselves. It's certainly not possible," Hillyer said. "Let us not lose sight of the fact that Ohioans are practical people. We wholeheartedly support progress in safeguarding our environment. But let's do it in a manner that doesn't place undue burden on our working families and the very people that we're sworn to serve."
Rep. Michele Grim (D-Toledo) argued it not only solves a problem that doesn’t exist, it creates a new one.
“It signals those who want to invest in their valuable dollars in clean energy and electric vehicle development that Ohio is not welcome to those investments," Grim said. "We should instead be taking steps to make sure Ohio is a more attractive state for clean energy job creation."
But Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) said requiring electric vehicles would help those EV owners while hurting electric ratepayers by "socializing the price of recharging an EV while keeping the benefits private."
"I certainly agree that people should be entitled to buy and even if they want to. But to be forced into doing so, which is the road on which our friends in California are traveling, would be a very, very bad idea," Seitz said. "And for me, I want to preserve the option of good old fashioned 87-proof gasoline."
The bill passed the House 70-23 with five Democrats joining all Republicans in voting for it.
While this would be a ban on a statewide ban, legislators - mostly Republicans - have banned bans before. They banned local communities from banning plastic bags in the budget passed in 2021. And last December, they passed a bill to ban municipalities from prohibiting flavored tobacco sales. That bill was vetoed by Gov. Mike DeWine, who also struck a similar provision inserted in the state budget this summer. Lawmakers are pushing to override that veto.