Governor Polis moves Colorado faster towards electric vehicle future

Media Contacts

This morning, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed an executive order that will allow Colorado to take a big step toward the electric vehicle future that we need to tackle our state’s current air pollution problem. The Governor’s order takes meaningful steps toward an electric vehicle future including moving forward on a statewide electric vehicle program, dedicating millions more dollars toward converting dirty diesel buses to electric-powered, and building out electric vehicle charging stations in a systematic way across the state. 

“We should not have to choose between clean air and getting to where we need to go. Unfortunately, with a transportation system dominated by gas-powered vehicles, tailpipe emissions fuels climate change and the kind of air pollution that damages lungs,” said Danny Katz, CoPIRG director. “This summer air quality was so bad, it was recommended that we exercise indoors. That’s ridiculous. It undermines our quality of life and it doesn’t have to be that way.”

CoPIRG staff were on hand at Governor Polis’s announcement, applauding his actions around moving our transportation system to one that is dominated by electric vehicles, buses, and trucks. Electric-powered vehicles are much cleaner than gas-powered. For example, in 2016, a battery electric vehicle (BEV) reduced emissions of smog-forming NOx by about a third, VOCs by 99 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by nearly a third compared to a new gasoline vehicle.

“Electric vehicles will cut pollution. We need to move toward electric vehicles as quickly as possible. The good news is this kind of transition will also save people money every time they fuel up their electric vehicle or avoid costly maintenance,” said Katz.

The cost to fuel an electric vehicle is a third of the cost of filling up at a gas pump and electric vehicles have fewer parts to maintain and lower overall maintenance costs. 

The Governor’s executive order, his first as Governor, takes the following actions:

  1. Calls for the adoption by the Air Quality Control Commission of a zero emission vehicle program (ZEV). Adopting the ZEV program means auto manufacturers would need to ensure that by 2025, 9% of the Colorado cars they send to sales lots are electric vehicles.   
  2. Directs all of the remaining money from the Volkswagen (VW) settlement, money that came when VW was caught selling emission-cheating dirty-diesel vehicles, to transition buses and trucks to electric-powered. This would change the current plan for the funds, which allows some money to go to natural gas and propane-powered vehicles. 
  3. Creates a new workgroup of different agencies to move electrification forward across the state and calls on the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to develop a policy and plan to ensure they are supporting transportation electrification.

“We applaud Governor Polis for speeding up our transition to an electric-powered future,” concluded Katz.