Wisconsin Legislature prepares to protect access to gasoline-powered vehicles

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The Wisconsin Legislature is expected to pass bills Wednesday that would protect access to gas-powered vehicles, snowplows, lawn mowers and other machinery.

The Republican-controlled Assembly approved the measures in April, over the objection of all Democrats, and the Senate was expected to give its final approval on Wednesday. It would then be up to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to sign the bills or veto them. He said in April that he did not believe a ban on gasoline engines was necessary for the state to slowly transition to electric vehicles, suggesting that he might not consider banning such bans necessary either.

The bills seek to prohibit measures similar to a california statute approved last year that requires all new cars, trucks and SUVs sold in the state to run on electricity or hydrogen by 2035. Democrats have said they had no plans to seek a ban on gasoline engines in Wisconsin and accused sponsors of the bill to instill fear.

The Senate was also expected to vote Wednesday on a bill that would prohibit state and local governments from restricting public services based on the source of energy, such as natural gas.

Republican supporters and other sponsors, including the state chamber of commerce and energy companies, said the measure was necessary to avoid any kind of ban in Wisconsin like those discussed in other states. New York State to Begin Banning Stoves and Ovens natural gas in most new buildings starting in 2026.

The environmental group Wisconsin Conservation Voters told lawmakers last month that the measure "is, at best, a solution in search of a problem" given that no community in Wisconsin or the state itself is trying to ban any kind of made out of fuel.

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