As we head into the final month of 2023, we’re giving thanks for the courage of New Mexico leaders, who took bold action in November to adopt new standards limiting pollution from cars and trucks. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham proposed this action to save lives, curb climate change, and improve public health. The New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board and the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board followed her lead and voted yes for cleaner air.
There’s something for every New Mexican to be grateful for in these new standards. The clean cars and trucks standards are crucial for addressing rising gas costs, combating climate change, and safeguarding public health by limiting air pollution from vehicle tailpipes. These standards signal auto and truck manufacturers to deliver an increasing number of zero-emission electric vehicles to New Mexico, accelerating the transition to clean transportation.
The adoption of these standards is a significant step in addressing the public health crisis posed by transportation pollution in New Mexico, particularly affecting lower-income communities, communities of color, children, elders, and those with respiratory conditions. Electric vehicles are a pivotal solution to curbing toxic air and climate-changing pollution from the transportation sector.
The economic and health benefits of these standards are substantial. According to an analysis by ERM, the standards are projected to deliver up to $44 billion in total benefits through 2050, including about $1 billion in health benefits. The clean car standard alone is expected to cut nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, preventing premature deaths, hospital visits, and health complications.
Various stakeholders and hundreds of New Mexicans expressed their support for clean cars and trucks during the rulemaking process and celebrated this historic decision.
Our optimism and gratitude extend to various organizations, professionals, and community voices, highlighting the potential for New Mexico to become a leader in clean and efficient transportation. With these standards in place, the state is poised to transition to electric vehicles to benefit people’s health, the climate, and wallets.
The new standards will make advanced technology vehicles more available in New Mexico. The next step is to deploy them. For example, Governor Lujan Grisham directed state agencies to transition their fleets to zero-emission technology by 2035. All New Mexicans – businesses and individuals – should follow the Governor’s lead and look closely at deploying plug-in vehicles for their needs.
Federal tax credits make zero-emission vehicles more affordable than they have ever been. Incentives are available for institutions, businesses, and individuals, regardless of tax liability. Starting in January, auto dealers can offer the federal tax credit as an up-front discount – a significant improvement to how the credit has worked in the past. PNM has proposed an upfront discount for limited-income people in their service territory as well, And the Governor intends to propose a new state tax credit for clean vehicles at the state Legislature next year. We hope legislators will vote yes and make it even easier to access pollution-free driving.
Together, we can save money, make our air healthier to breathe, and fight climate change. That’s something we all can be grateful for.
The New Mexico Clean Air coalition includes consumer groups, EV drivers, conservation, climate, social justice, environmental justice advocates, businesses and leaders, local governments and elected officials, health voices, frontline communities, and labor representatives.