State on Clean Cars standards: There’s always next year

By Mona Blaber, Chapter communications director

Thanks to everyone who commented to the Environmental Improvement Board to support climate advocates’ petition to begin a rulemaking that would make electric cars much more available in New Mexico.

The state Environment Department, which had committed to adopting the Clean Cars standards in 2020, opposed our petition, saying they were understaffed but would start a rulemaking in December. Supporters of Sierra Club and other groups submitted nearly 1,000 comments to the EIB, and several volunteers gave oral comments at the July 23 meeting where the board heard our petition. Unfortunately, the EIB rejected the petition.

However, the state did commit to start the rulemaking in December, with a May 2022 hearing. The petitioning groups, including Sierra Club and led by National Resources Defense Council and Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, have requested that the state and Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board keep their promise to start a rulemaking in December, as well as:

  • include Advanced Clean Truck and Heavy Duty Omnibus standards;
  • notify the state and local board of the state’s intent to petition for an Advanced Clean Cars 2 (the higher standards that California is likely to adopt in 2022 and other states with advanced standards must match) as soon as it is available; and
  • adopt early-action credits and limits to proportional credits in the petition that is filed in December. The credits would encourage automakers to comply with New Mexico’s standards sooner than the federal requirement of two model years.

Providing early notice of a plan to adopt ambitious standards for 2026-2035 will encourage manufacturers to begin deploying and advertising cleaner vehicles, including more electric vehicles in New Mexico today, to prepare for meeting this more ambitious standard.

Your engagement has made clear to the state that the public wants the Environment Department to prioritize these standards. Let’s keep up the positive pressure for our climate and our pocketbooks.

Featured image from Sierra Club

State on Clean Cars standards: There’s always next year