New Mexico adopts critical package to clean cars and trucks

New Mexico adopts critical package to clean cars and trucks

This blog was co-authored by Susan Needle, E2 Mountain West attorney

After a marathon four-day hearing, the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board and the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board adopted three key standards that will provide significant climate, public health, air quality and economic benefits to New Mexico.

The Board has adopted the Advanced Clean Car II (ACC II), Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) and Low NOx Heavy Duty standards – collectively the “Standards.” The standards will increase the number of zero-emission trucks and cars on New Mexico’s roads, while reducing toxic pollution from gasoline and diesel vehicle exhaust.

Transportation is the state’s second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and a major source of toxic air pollution. Moving to clean electric vehicles is a key solution to reducing these emissions. Standards will:

  • Keeping up with consumer demand and expanding residents’ options for clean vehicle models
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dangerous air pollution such as nitrogen oxide (NOx)
  • Cleaning commercial trucks that drive through our neighborhoods
  • Reducing the cost of vehicle ownership and expanding the clean economy locally
  • Make the power grid more reliable and lower utility bills for everyone, even families who don’t own an electric car
  • A signal to automakers that clean vehicles are here to stay.

As adopted, ACC II requires an increasing number of new clean vehicles to be sold in the state each year, until 82% of new vehicles sold in the state are electric or hybrid by 2032. Advocates, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, had The company is pushing for a full version of the program to reach 100% of new cars sold by 2035, and 8 other countries have adopted it so far.

As adopted, the ACT sets annual requirements for the sale of zero-emission trucks that vary by vehicle type and increase gradually over time, leaving time to continue to improve technologies and support infrastructure as they mature and vehicle prices decline. Low NOx standards require manufacturers to reduce diesel truck emissions by 90% by 2027, update engine testing and durability, and extend engine warranties to ensure harmful emissions in vehicles sold in the state are regulated.

The ACT and HDO will each provide more than $3.3 billion in total benefits between 2020 and 2050. This includes about $600 million in health benefits, including 51 premature deaths averted and 28,065 respiratory illnesses. Annual greenhouse gas emissions from New Mexico’s heavy-duty fleet will decrease by 39% by 2050.

Together, the Clean Car and Truck Standards will provide more than $43 billion in net societal benefits to New Mexico residents, including more than 69,000 reduced health complications.

New Mexico is ready for clean cars

New Mexicans are increasingly purchasing zero-emission vehicles. In the first half of 2023, sales in New Mexico were 4.85% of new sales, up from 4.17% for all of 2022. State programs and facilities are working to build a robust network of charging stations to keep pace, including public places. Fast charging on the go, and through discounts on home charger installation.

The new standards will ensure New Mexico residents have more electric vehicle models to meet everyone’s needs, from SUVs to affordable pickup trucks, minivans and compact models, as well as clean trucks and buses on the roads.

These standards build on the significant zero-emission investments New Mexico has seen over the past year, driven by the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in 2022. The state is one of 21 states that have announced at least 5 major clean energy projects. Since the bill passed, companies in the electric vehicle and battery sector have announced $130 million in investments to date according to E2 tracking.

E2’s 2023 New Mexico Clean Jobs Fact Sheet shows New Mexico ranks among the five fastest-growing states in clean energy jobs for the second year in a row, supporting nearly 12,700 workers or about 1 in 5 energy jobs in the state. Job growth was driven by the clean vehicle jobs sector, which now employs about 1,000 workers and has seen a 32 percent increase in jobs over the past two years.

The report shows that clean vehicles and clean vehicle standards would be a boon to New Mexico’s economy. While eliminating jobs in the state’s gas and diesel vehicle sectors, this smart economic policy embraces New Mexico’s thriving clean vehicle sector, so it can compete with the rest of the country for future auto industry investments and projects and expand jobs in the state.

New Mexico took an important step today by adopting new standards for clean cars and trucks that will help provide significant benefits to the state and its residents, and we thank the Boards for paving the way toward a clean vehicle future. Now, we look to the five other states that currently have ongoing clean car rulemaking processes — Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine — and Maryland, which will adopt the ACT standards this year.

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