Victory: Colorado officially joins Zero Emission Vehicle program

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Move will increase electric vehicles in Colorado, help tackle climate change, reduce air pollution

CoPIRG Foundation

Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) officially adopted the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program Friday, a move that takes aim at reducing ozone pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Colorado is the 11th state to adopt the program. 

Under ZEV, the state will deploy more electric vehicles over the next decade. ZEV requires each car company to ensure an increasingly larger percent of the new cars they send to Colorado are electric-powered. When ZEV is implemented, an estimated 4%-8% of each automobile company’s new cars sent to Colorado will be electric-powered. 

Speeding up Colorado’s transition to cleaner, electric-powered vehicles is one of the most significant actions the state can take to reduce smog and cut carbon pollution. 

Vehicle emissions are one of the largest contributors to the dirty and dangerous air days in Colorado. The American Lung Association recently ranked Denver the 12th most-polluted city in the nation for smog forming pollutants, and Colorado has failed to meet both the 2008 and 2015 health-based National Ambient Air Quality standards for smog-forming pollution.

“It’s unacceptable that we still regularly have days where our air is so polluted that it’s unhealthy to be outside,” said Danny Katz, director at CoPIRG (Colorado Public Interest Research Group). “Joining the Zero Emission Vehicle program will cut air pollution from the tailpipes of vehicles and quicken our transition to a cleaner, electric-powered transportation system.”  

According to an analysis of the rule by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, adopting ZEV would cut 3.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and 307 metric tons of ozone precursor pollution through model year 2030. A study by the Environmental Defense Fund found adopting ZEV is the equivalent to taking more than 200,000 cars off Colorado’s roads in 2025 and almost 1.6 million cars in 2040.

Electric-powered vehicles are also cheaper to fuel and maintain, some costing the equivalent of $1 per gallon to fuel.