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Cleaner Cars, Trucks Could be Coming to Colorado

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Nationally, the transportation sector is the number one source for greenhouse gas emissions. (Pxhere)
Nationally, the transportation sector is the number one source for greenhouse gas emissions. (Pxhere)
August 15, 2019

DENVER – Colorado's Air Quality Control Commission wraps up hearings Thursday over whether the state should require automakers to make a certain number of zero-emission vehicles available for sale.

Jen Clanahan, head mom with the group Colorado Moms Know Best, says Colorado has an opportunity to address a real pollution problem.

She points to a recent American Lung Association report ranking the Denver metro area as the 12th most ozone-polluted in the nation. She says the new requirement would protect children’s health.

"And we are supporting a strong zero-emission vehicle program because they are significantly cleaner than your traditional car,” she states. “And as we get more of our energy from renewable sources, they get even cleaner."

If the commission decides to adopt a zero-emission vehicle policy, Colorado would join nine other states working to reduce pollution by giving incentives to produce cleaner vehicles.

Proponents also say the move would spur renewable energy development and infrastructure, including recharging stations.

Critics say the state can reduce pollution without regulations, and maintain the move would limit the types of vehicles available in the state.

Just 12 models of electric vehicles were available in Colorado in 2018, compared with 48 models in California, where a zero-emissions policy already is on the books, according to The Colorado Sun.

Clanahan says children are more vulnerable to health impacts of air pollution, including cardiovascular and respiratory disease, because they're more active and take in a greater proportion of air per body size.

She says especially on hot days, tailpipe exhaust creates dangerous ozone levels and keeps children indoors.

"Which is really difficult, of course, for a parent,” she stresses. “It's summer. We know that it's good for our kids to exercise and we want them to be outside running around, playing around.

“So it's really difficult when we've got health officials saying, 'No, actually you should probably keep them inside today.' "

Colorado's policy would require 5% of cars sold in 2023 to be zero-emission vehicles, rising to 6% by 2030, a move that is projected to eliminate more than 3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution.

Battery-powered electric vehicles, hybrids and other vehicles that don't produce emissions would all qualify under the policy.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO