The time is now for EVs in New Mexico

By Joel Levin

With the price of gasoline staying high, there has never been more talk of the need for making electric vehicles more accessible to more people. Electric vehicles cost between $6,000 and $10,000 less to own and operate than comparable gas-powered vehicles over their lifetime. This sounds great, right? Unfortunately, if you head to a dealership to buy an EV in New Mexico, you are likely to come home empty-handed.

Fortunately, the Land of Enchantment is ready to take a bold step to make buying an electric car easier throughout the state. Clean Cars standards being considered by the state of New Mexico’s Environmental Improvement Board and the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Board direct automakers to sell more EVs in the state. By adopting these rules, New Mexico’s decision-makers have the ability to make the benefits of electric transportation accessible to all New Mexicans.

Consider what this will mean for you and your family:

  • Electric vehicles save drivers money because electricity is cheaper than gasoline.
  • Electric vehicles require dramatically less maintenance and save drivers money on upkeep and maintenance costs — no oil changes, no spark plugs, no transmission, and very few moving parts to wear out.
  • Electric vehicles don’t pollute the air with smog, which causes painful and expensive health problems.
  • Electric vehicles produce no tailpipe emissions, helping slow climate change and its effects, like the wildfires New Mexico is experiencing right now.

The Clean Cars standard is the key for New Mexico to drive EV adoption and reduce transportation costs for families, spur job growth and improve air quality. There are now more than 70 models of EVs available in the U.S., but most are hard to find in New Mexico. Clean Cars standards will give consumers more choices when considering an EV, including new and used models at lower price points.

While the neighboring states of Arizona and Texas are increasingly attracting manufacturers and jobs, New Mexico has not benefited from the massive growth of the electric vehicle industry. New Mexicans are missing out on jobs that pay well and provide good benefits. Making electric vehicles easier to access through the Clean Cars standards just makes sense. If New Mexico adopts the Clean Cars rule next month, it will send a strong message to the auto industry that the state is ready to lead on the EV transition, making it a prime location for investment. Further, it will signal that New Mexico is ready for a sustainable transportation system that will benefit all of its residents for future generations.

Thousands of acres of forest and public lands are burning in wildfires across the Southwest right now. These extreme weather events have shown us that we cannot wait any longer to address climate change. The American spirit of innovation tells us that if we address climate change in a smart way, we can improve our economy and our quality of life at the same time.

Cheaper energy. Cleaner air. More good jobs. By adopting Clean Cars standards, New Mexico stands poised to lead the way.

Joel Levin is the executive director of Plug In America and a leading advocate for electric vehicles, consumer protection and the benefits of a zero-emission transportation sector. He writes from Los Angeles.

Published in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

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