CO clean air commission votes unanimously to consider Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) rule

Media Contacts

Could cut 2.2 million metric tons of climate pollution, save consumers $1.1 billion

CoPIRG Foundation

Today, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) voted unanimously to begin consideration of the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) standard. If adopted, the ZEV program would be one of the biggest actions Colorado could take to reduce air pollution, tackle climate change, save consumers money, and increase the number of electric vehicles available at Colorado dealerships. The AQCC vote today kicks off a lengthy public rulemaking process that will wrap up with a vote on whether to adopt ZEV in August. 

“Electric vehicles are cheaper to drive and they don’t come with tailpipe emissions. Colorado needs to adopt strong electric vehicle standards to protect our health and support a Colorado quality of life,” said Danny Katz, CoPIRG Foundation Director.  

According to presentation by the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) to the AQCC about the ZEV rule, it would cut 2.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gases and would save Colorado consumers an estimated $1.1 billion in fuel and maintenance by 2030.  

Background on Friday’s Air Quality Control Commission hearing and the Zero Emission Vehicle Program:

The next step Colorado can take to accelerate transportation electrification would be to adopt the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program. This would require auto manufacturers to develop and market vehicles that emit no tailpipe pollution, starting in model-year 2023 and increasing in later years. Advocates estimate that it would require about 8 percent of new vehicle sales in Colorado to be electric by 2025. Colorado would be the eleventh state to adopt the ZEV program, and the first non-coastal state. 

Now that the AQCC has launched the ZEV rulemaking process, technical experts and the public will be able to weigh in on the proposed rule over the summer. The AQCC would then likely take a final up-or-down vote in mid-August.

Background on the benefits of electric vehicles in Colorado:

Electric vehicles offer widespread benefits for all Coloradans, including cleaner air, less climate change, significant dollar savings and greater consumer choice:

  • In 2018, an electric vehicle running on electricity from Xcel produced 71 percent less smog-forming pollution, 99 percent less VOC pollution, and 34 percent less global warming pollution, compared to a new gasoline vehicle. 
  • EVs will get cleaner as our electricity system continues to move away from polluting fuels. In terms of global warming pollution, an EV using electricity from Xcel in 2018 was comparable to a gasoline car that gets 52 miles-per-gallon (mpg). However, in 2026, that same EV will perform like a gasoline car that gets 105 mpg, because more than half of Xcel’s electricity in that year will come from clean, renewable sources.
  • Powering an electric vehicle is two-thirds less expensive than filling up at the gas pump. That means a typical rural driver could save more than $600 per year by switching from gas to electricity.
  • EVs cost much less to maintain as well. For example, New York City is currently saving more than $900 per year in maintenance costs for an electric Nissan Leaf compared to a gasoline-powered Ford Fusion in the city fleet.
  • Dollar savings will extend even to people who do not drive EVs, because transportation electrification can help our electricity system work more efficiently. Electric vehicles could cumulatively reduce our electric bills by more than $4 billion by mid-century.
  • Cumulative net-benefits from vehicle electrification in Colorado could exceed $40 billion by mid-century, according to analysis by MJ Bradley & Associates.

There are currently 43 electric vehicle models available in the United States and more are coming, including 21 electric SUV models over the next 2 years. Unfortunately, the vehicles that already exist are mostly sent to states with ZEV standards and many Coloradans report being unable to purchase the electric vehicles they want in-state. If Colorado adopts the ZEV program, consumers here will be more likely to get access to a wide variety of models.