How Maine’s controversial electric vehicle sales mandate ultimately backfired

AUGUSTA, Maine — Last fall, the path looked pretty clear for Maine environmentalists who wanted electric vehicles to make up 82 percent of new car sales by 2032.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine and other allies had proposed the EV rules found earlier in 2023 in California and about a dozen other states through a state law provision that allows citizens to bypass the legislature and ask agencies to adopt rules if at at least 150 registered voters sign a petition.

But after a positive poll in October, the EV decision was delayed for months after a severe wind and rain storm in December caused massive power outages in Maine and forced the board to push back its decision to March, while also pushing back the model’s initial implementation date was shifted. between 2027 and 2028, when electric vehicles should account for 51 percent of new sales.

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