- Colorado regulators voted overwhelmingly for the state to join California and nine others in adopting zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandates that will press automakers to develop more electric vehicle models.
- The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission voted 8-1 on Friday to approve the standard, aligning with a climate plan released by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in May that calls for 100% renewables and increased electrified transportation.
- Adopting the ZEV mandate will save Colorado up to $65 million annually by 2025 and up to $2.2 billion a year by 2040, "in economic and pollution benefits," according to analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund.
The mandate passed easily and with the backing of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Association of Global Automakers.
Nonetheless, there was some concern from dealers that requiring more electric vehicles would cost them money.
The Colorado Automobile Dealers Association opposed adopting the mandate. "[I]t will raise the price of cars that Coloradans want and need to buy," President Tim Jackson told Tesla news site Teslarati.
And the manufacturing alliance says although it supports the state's adoption, "ZEV sales need to increase dramatically to meet ambitious sales targets supported" by the rule. Last year ZEVs represented 1.9% of total sales nationwide, but by 2025 they are required to be 15.4% of total sales, according to the manufacturers.
But the plan will also avoid 1 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year by 2025 — the equivalent to taking more than 200,000 cars off of Colorado's roads by that year, and removing almost 1.6 million cars in 2040, according to EDF.
"With transportation on track to become the number one source of emissions in Colorado, we must reduce congestion on the road and pollution in the air," Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Shoshana Lew said in a statement.
Colorado already has one of the strongest electric vehicle markets in the country, according to Colorado Energy Office Executive Director Will Toor, who cited the state's consumers and "multiple policies that support EV adoption" as drivers of that market.
Adopting the ZEV mandate "will turbocharge the market here. We believe this will get a million EVs on the road by 2030, which is critical to meeting clean air standards and Colorado's greenhouse gas reduction goals," said Toor.
Provisions of the Clean Air Act allow states to follow the federal requirements or adopt California's vehicle emission regulations. In adopting the ZEV rule, Colorado joins Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.