Political Story: SB 5849 Electric Vehicle Charging Station Guidelines

I). Introduction/Scope of the bill

II). Issue at hand/What the bill is doing

III). Quotes/EV sustainability

IV). Closing

Story: The Impact of SB 5849

PULLMAN, WASH. Owners and operators of electric vehicles (EVs) in the state of Washington can rejoice knowing that progressive action is finally being made on their behalf.

With the passing of WA SB 5849 in March, EV charging stations will soon feature more mandated signage indicating proper usage and functioning procedures.

The most significant aspect of the bill is the introduction of stiff fines to be handed out to violators who treat designated charging stations as parking spots for their non-electric vehicles.

This process, notoriously referred to by the EV community as ICE’ing (Internal Combustion Engine) has become an all too common occurrence according to Dan Davids, board chair at Plug In America, a non-profit coalition of EV drivers.

“It has unfortunately been a huge obstacle for EV drivers to overcome,” said Davids.

“People need to realize that this is just like parking your car in front of a conventional gas pump and then leaving it there overnight.”

Prior to the adoption of SB 5849, Davids and other EV owners feared that the abuse of charging stations would inhibit state legislators from recognizing their preferred methods of travel as a legitimate investment.

“We were making strides but EV operators desperately needed the law on our side in order to protect our rights to charge on the road,” said Davids.

Jeff Finn, the legislative issues coordinator for the Seattle Electric Vehicles Association (SEVA) said that state government officials fully supported the original SB 5849 proposal because they saw the positive environmental and economic impact of EV travel.

“EVs are beneficial to the state because they are clean and emission-free whilst using a resource we are more abundant in, electricity,” said Finn.

“I like to think of their use as a mini-boost to local economies because my wife and I spend money in whatever town we stop to charge in while traveling.”

One of the events commonly referred to as being a catalyst to the growth of the EV industry is National Plug In Day.

Tonia Buell, a project development and communications manager at WSDOT and three-time National Plug In Day participant says that the event raises awareness of electric vehicle availability and simplicity.

“It has been really exciting to see the growth of EVs turn into something more mainstream at this event,” said Buell.

“People from all over come to check out what EVs are all bout and I think they can see the benefits right away.”

Washington is one of the leading states in electric vehicle sales in the nation thanks to the low cost of hydroelectric power and a rise in the relative number of charging stations regionally.

This more easily allows EV users to travel from station to station on one four-hour charge including the trip from Pullman to Spokane, Bellingham to Pullman, etc.

In addition to National Plug In Day, the work grassroots organizations such as SEVA, Plug In America, and West Coast Green Highway have been instrumental in giving EV owners a collective voice and getting SB 5849 to come to fruition.

“The EV community is really shaping up to be a strong one and something more than just a fad,” said John Dorscher, a WSU student and Seattle EV owner.

“I hope to see this country continue to turn to more efficient means of living.”

Finn wants all Americans to know that operating an EV would help to reduce their carbon footprint on the world with less gas meaning less pollution.

“Its about five times cheaper to fuel electric cars and it can be done conveniently at home, or on the road,” said Finn.

With over 100,000 sold, EVs are growing in popularity as new technology arises and that only spells good things for the sustainability of our planet and natural environment.


-Jeff Finn

-Dan Davids

-Tonia Buell

-John Dorscher


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