CoPIRG calls on AQCC to pass monumental Colorado Clean Cars rule

Media Contacts
Alexandra Simon

Former Public Health Advocate, CoPIRG Foundation

New rule guarantees consumers the best options for future EVs, improves air quality

DENVER — CoPIRG is calling on the AQCC to pass the Colorado Clean Cars rule in the upcoming hearing scheduled for October 18-20 in Denver. The proposed rule will direct vehicle manufacturers to make and sell more electric vehicles (zero-emission vehicles including battery-electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and fuel cell electric vehicles) starting with model year 2027. By model year 2032, it would direct auto manufacturers to sell approximately 80% electric vehicles (EVs) – significantly improving air quality and health conditions across Colorado by decreasing the harmful emissions that contribute to air pollution.

“The Colorado Clean Cars rule would be a major win for public health and consumer choice here in Colorado,” said public health advocate Alex Simon. “Not only would it help our state accelerate the transition to a cleaner, healthier transportation system, but it also would  guarantee consumers in Colorado have the maximum number of options around electric vehicles in future years.”

The vote will make Colorado the eighth state and first in the rocky mountain region to adopt California’s regulation, joining New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maryland, Delaware, Washington and Oregon. 

With air quality in many parts of Colorado classified as in “severe” nonattainment of federal standards (meaning ozone levels continue to fall above the 2008 EPA standard of 75 parts per billion), transitioning the state’s light-duty vehicles to electric is a key strategy in reducing emissions and improving air quality. 

While the cost of recharging an EV can vary from state to state, a 2023 analysis by the Energy Policy Institute found that it’s cheaper to charge an EV than fill up on gas in every state, and especially in states where electricity rates are low and gas prices are high. The study found that on average, Colorado residents saved $28 per fill up in a sedan and $36 per fill up in an SUV, ranking the state 11th nationally by the Washington Post for overall consumer savings per fill up. 

For the average American who drives 14,000 miles per year, that translates to savings of about $700 per year in fuel, with additional savings through lower maintenance.  

“By adopting this rule, consumers in Colorado are guaranteed access to the best electric vehicles on the market moving forward,” said Simon. “Those vehicles are not only cheaper to drive, but are better for our air quality and better for the environment.”

Despite lower fuel and maintenance costs, the upfront cost of an EV is often higher than its gas-powered counterparts. Fortunately, residents in Colorado are eligible for some of the most generous EV incentives in the country, including a current $5,000 tax credit for EV models under $80,000 MSRP and an additional $2,500 starting in January 2024 for models under $35,000 MSRP. Those credits can be combined with the $7,500 federal EV tax credit for potential savings up to $15,000 off the upfront purchase price for Colorado residents. 

The state also offers the Clean Fleet Vehicle and Technology Grant Program, which provides incentives for businesses and governments to purchase electric light, medium, and heavy-duty fleet vehicles. Local governments across Colorado have used these programs to electrify an increasing number of fleet vehicles in places like Aspen, Boulder and Avon