Clean Cars, Trucks standards save lives, money


Update! Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on July 3 announced that her administration would propose Clean Cars and Trucks rules this month to the Environmental Improvement Board. The administration filed the petition on Friday, July 7. 

A  broad coalition of New Mexico climate, environmental-justice and business groups is advocating for the state to adopt Advanced Clean Cars and Trucks standards by the end of 2023 to save lives and money and create climate solutions in New Mexico.The standards would limit air pollution from vehicle tailpipes and require auto and truck manufacturers to deliver an increasing number of zero-emission electric vehicles for sale in the region, providing considerable consumer savings on gas and maintenance.

New studies have found that these standards would reduce fine particulate matter and prevent dozens of premature deaths and tens of thousands of cases of respiratory illness by 2050. These rules would reduce climate pollution by hundreds of millions of metric tons by 2050, making these among the most effective climate policies New Mexico could adopt.

Advanced Clean Cars II requires auto manufacturers to make zero-emission vehicles a gradually increasing percentage of sales through 2035 and reduce pollution from gas vehicles sold in the interim.

Advanced Clean Trucks establish annual zero-emission sales requirements that vary by vehicle type and increase over time. The Heavy-Duty Low-NOx Omnibus, a third standard, would significantly reduce smog-forming pollution from new diesel-fueled trucks by strengthening the standards for nitrogen oxides and particulates.

Air pollution from cars and trucks is the second-largest source of climate pollution in New Mexico. Transportation pollution is also public-health crisis in New Mexico, disproportionately impacting lower-income communities, communities of color, children, elders, and anyone with respiratory conditions like asthma. Zero-emission cars and trucks are the fastest way to reduce the transportation sector’s toxic air pollution and climate emissions.

“Right now, Gov. Lujan Grisham and Albuquerque Mayor Keller can adopt common-sense, ready-made policies to accelerate zero-emission vehicle deployment in New Mexico to improve our health, protect our climate and save us money: the Advanced Clean Cars and Trucks standards,” said Ona Porter, Clean Energy Leader and Founder Emerita at Prosperity Works. “These standards are the only way to guarantee that clean cars and trucks will come to New Mexico.”

If the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board approves the standards this year, the Advanced Clean Cars and Trucks standards will go into effect for model-year 2027 cars and trucks, arriving in showrooms in 2026.

“Adopting the Advanced Clean Cars and Trucks standards in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime influx of federal funding for clean vehicles from the Inflation Reduction Act means that New Mexico will be able to make the most of federal dollars to support the deployment of clean cars and trucks, boosting the state’s economy and creating clean tech jobs,” said Susan Nedell, Mountain West Advocate for E2 — Environmental Entrepreneurs. “These standards will further secure an affordable and healthy clean transportation future while helping the state chip away at the root cause of increasing costs from climate-fueled weather disasters.”

“Studies show that adopting Clean Cars and Trucks standards will literally save lives in New Mexico. It will also help us address the climate emergency and help New Mexico access millions in federal funding to boost EV infrastructure and make clean cars more accessible, affordable and convenient,” said Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter director.

“Advanced Clean Cars and Trucks rules will expedite access to zero-emission vehicles while providing tremendous benefits to New Mexico’s economy and improving its air quality,” said Aaron Kressig, Transportation Electrification Manager for Western Resource Advocates. “These standards will save drivers money at the gas pump, increase availability of zero-emission vehicles for consumers to purchase, and promote equitable access to these vehicles for all New Mexicans. The state should seize the opportunity to adopt these standards together in 2023 to get cleaner trucks and cars on our roads sooner.”

In 2022, the New Mexico Clean Air coalition of more than 35 organizations supported the first Clean Cars standards passed by the state and the City of Albuquerque. However, those standards are moot because they weren’t passed early enough to go into effect before California passed updated standards. State vehicle-emissions rules that exceed federal standards must be substantially similar. Passing the updated Clean Cars standard along with Clean Trucks and the Heavy Duty Omnibus NOx standards will bring New Mexico back in line with life-saving pollution standards.

Clean Cars, Trucks standards save lives, money