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NM Coalition Makes Speedier Push for Electric Vehicles

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Tuesday, July 20, 2021   

SANTA FE, N.M. -- New Mexicans who want to impact climate change by driving an electric vehicle have several roadblocks, and they won't end soon if the state fails to take action before the end of this year.

Two years ago, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order committing New Mexico to essential climate-change goals.

The order included a requirement that auto manufacturers deliver more electric vehicles to the state, but the timeline for a necessary rule-making process to adopt Advanced Clean Cars Standards has come and gone twice, and been postponed a third time.

Tammy Fiebelkorn, New Mexico representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, said cleaner cars are crucial to address climate change.

"We have these goals of reducing our greenhouse gases and meeting our climate goals that are in the executive order that the governor signed, but until we can get some electric vehicles sold here, we're not going to meet the transportation one," Fiebelkorn cautioned.

Southwest Energy Efficiency is among a coalition of groups that filed a formal petition asking the state to adopt Advanced Clean Cars Standards by year's end, a deadline state officials have said can not be met.

New Mexico has installed more than 100 electric-vehicle charging stations in various locations, but only about 1,200 plug-in electric vehicles are currently on the roads.

Fiebelkorn pointed out the adoption of rules to govern Advanced Clean Car Standards is fairly straightforward because they must be identical to those of other states. She added New Mexico may be unable to implement standards until 2026 if it misses a December deadline.

"Because of the way the standards are written, you have to wait two model years," Fiebelkorn explained. "And so if we can get it in this year, then that lets us implement a whole year sooner."

When it comes to purchasing an electric vehicle, the Consumer Choice Center ranked New Mexico and 16 other states in the "barely accessible" category, a notch above nine other states where they are totally "inaccessible," either because direct-to-consumer sales are banned, or extra registration fees are exorbitant.

Nationwide, electric vehicles represent less than 1% of all vehicles on the road.

Disclosure: Sierra Club, Rio Grande Chapter contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Public Lands/Wilderness, and Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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