Clear Benefits to Adopting Zero Emission Program

Electric vehicles don’t just promise to tackle our air quality problems. They will also bring additional consumer benefits from lower fuel costs and fewer maintenance expenses.

As Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission begins public hearings today on whether to adopt the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program later this week, the clean air benefits from ZEV are clear – moving away from gas-powered vehicles to electric-powered vehicles reduces the emission of air pollutants. 

An evaluation from the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment estimates adopting ZEV will result in 3.2 million metric tons less of greenhouse gases and 307 metric tons less of ozone precursor pollution – the pollutants that contribute to the unhealthy air days that have been too common this summer. 

But electric vehicles don’t just promise to tackle our air quality problems. They will also bring additional consumer benefits from lower fuel costs and fewer maintenance expenses.

But don’t take my word for it. 

Together CoPIRG Foundation and Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center asked our respective members to tell us about their experiences owning an electric vehicle. Here are some of the replies:

I have owned an electric vehicle since 2013 and it has been terrific! The cost of ownership has been much lower than a comparable gas/diesel car. The car has done everything I have asked of it and it gets driven quite a bit since I use it for work fairly often – Brian

It has very few maintenance requirements – Erin

No oil changes, and more economical than internal combustion engine car – Susan Added advantages of an EV are far less maintenance costs, they are quieter and perform much better than a gas vehicle – Stuart

I developed asthma since moving into the Frontrange from Boston, so I understand that every car less that doesn’t spew toxic fumes is a help for air quality. This July we bought a 2019 Nissan LEAF and we’ll be saving a lot of money annually – Martin

 I leased a 2013 Nissan Leaf for 3 years.  My mileage was equivalent to better than 100 miles per gallon for an ICE vehicle – Justin

We leased a 2019 Nissan Leaf last September. We LOVE it. We live only a 15-minute drive from downtown, and my husband and I used to drive our truck down every day. In our commute downtown it only uses 2-5% of the battery each day, and we definitely spend less on energy for it than we did on gas – Angela 

My Chevy Bolt is the quickest car I’ve ever owned and It is inexpensive to operate – Harvey

Car charging costs me a very inexpensive 8.1 cents per kilowatt hour in the winter (12.2 cents per kilowatt hour in the summer). Using the EPA formula for calculating the electrical equivalent of a gallon of gasoline (33.7 KWh), my Tesla has been getting an average of 112.3 miles per gallon over a period of 26 months in Colorado – Dave

The things I love about “going electric” are: Never having to go to the gas station to fill up. (Charge at home, almost never elsewhere). No oil changes, virtually no maintenance besides tires – David

Ultimately, we must take action to move as quickly as possible to a zero emission transportation future so we can protect our public health and tackle climate change. The AQCC’s adoption of a ZEV requirement will push car companies to bring cleaner electric vehicles, more quickly into Colorado. Electric vehicles are already offering huge savings for Coloradans, savings that are likely to grow as electric vehicle technology continues to advance.

It’s time for a zero emission vehicle future.  


Danny Katz

Executive Director, CoPIRG

Danny has been the director of CoPIRG for over a decade. Danny co-authored a groundbreaking report on the state’s transit, walking and biking needs and is a co-author of the annual “State of Recycling” report. He also helped write a 2016 Denver initiative to create a public matching campaign finance program and led the early effort to eliminate predatory payday loans in Colorado. Danny serves on the Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT) Efficiency and Accountability Committee, CDOT's Transit and Rail Advisory Committee, RTD's Reimagine Advisory Committee, the Denver Moves Everyone Think Tank, and the I-70 Collaborative Effort. Danny lobbies federal, state and local elected officials on transportation electrification, multimodal transportation, zero waste, consumer protection and public health issues. He appears frequently in local media outlets and is active in a number of coalitions. He resides in Denver with his family, where he enjoys biking and skiing, the neighborhood food scene and raising chickens.