RED LODGE — A group of Wyoming lawmakers is saying “no” to electric vehicles in a move aimed at countering plans announced by states across the country to phase out internal combustion gasoline engines.
Introduced by Republican Senator Jim Anderson of Casper, Senate Joint Resolution 4 calls for phasing out the sale of new electric vehicles in Wyoming by 2035.
The bill, sponsored by five other Republican lawmakers, argues that electric vehicles are impractical for Wyoming, while internal combustion engines support Wyoming’s oil and gas industry.
Appearing on Fox Business on Monday, Anderson called the move mostly symbolic.
“We just wanted to make this statement because there seems to be a nationwide movement going on to phase out our vehicles,” Anderson told Fox.
But interest in and use of electric vehicles is growing in Wyoming, said Dr. Scot Anderson, organizer of the Tesla Owners Club in Jackson Hole.
Dr. Anderson said there were about 300 Teslas driving around Jackson, which was a good sign for the town’s residents.
“This is a community effort, and we all need to make some kind of change to improve our health and the environment in which we live,” Dr. Anderson said.
Dr. Anderson highlighted one point in Sen. Anderson’s resolution: Wyoming does not have the infrastructure to support electric vehicles or electric vehicle charging stations.
“I think Wyoming, like any other state, needs to invest in this kind of infrastructure,” Dr. Anderson said. “But as for the cost of charging stations, I think the manufacturers should be responsible.”
On the state line in Montana, the Red Lodge, a historic inn, is seeing more business from electric vehicle transportation.
“If I’m right, six years ago, we only had one person using them,” said McDean, owner of the Yodeler Inn. “Now, in the summer, we average one or two a week.”
The Yodeler Inn has four EV chargers, three Teslas and a universal charger, which Dean installed six years ago, bringing some extra business to the hotel.
“We’re Destination Chargers,” Dean said. “If people want to use our chargers, they have to book a room. It just adds to our hands.”
In terms of EV legislation before the Montana Legislature this term, Rep. Denley Loge, R-St., has introduced two bills. Regis seeks to tax EV charging stations and increase EV registration fees — moves Dean said were expected and inevitable, like the future of EV mobility.
“I can’t speak for Wyoming, but they’re coming anyway,” Dean said. “You may or may not accept the project.”