If New Mexico adopts clean car rules, more energy-efficent electric vehicles would be on the roads in 2024 or sooner. (newmexico.org)

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By Roz Brown

May 3, 2022   

New Mexico may soon join more than a dozen other states in adopting California’s clean car standards.

The statewide and Albuquerque environmental-air quality boards will hold a joint hearing beginning Wednesday on the proposed Clean Car Rule. As written, car dealers would need to sell a certain percentage of low- and zero-emission cars.

Tammy Fiebelkorn, New Mexico representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, said if adopted, residents who drive an electric vehicle could benefit from cleaner air and also save money.

“There’s no oil changes, there’s no moving parts, there’s no maintenance schedule,” Fiebelkorn outlined. “It’s good for the environment, but it’s also really good for my pocketbook.”

New Mexico is facing some of the worst impacts of climate change, with firefighters currently battling the biggest wildfire in the U.S.

Last month, a report by the American Lung Association found transitioning to zero-emission transportation and electricity would provide the state savings of almost $3 billion in health care by 2050 and save nearly 300 lives.

New Mexico is slated to receive $38 million over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Transportation to strategically deploy electric-vehicle charging infrastructure and establish an interconnected network to expand access and reliability.

Fiebelkorn pointed out it will make all the difference for those who drive long distances.

“And eventually we’re going to be at the point where I can drive my EV in any part of New Mexico and get there without worrying about not being able to charge,” Fiebelkorn noted.

The governor’s office has said the clean car rules could mean getting rid of almost two million metric tons of carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030, or the equivalent of eliminating 200,000 cars from the roads for one year.

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Hearing N.M. Environment Dept. 2022
N.M. Clean Cars Clean Air 2022
EV report American Lung Assn. 03/30/2022