New Mexico EV Mandate Stands After Opposition from Car Dealers


new mexico ev mandate stands after opposition from car dealers

The State of New Mexico has denied a petition put forward by automotive dealers to ease off on planned electric vehicle mandates. The groups had claimed that forcing electrification would hamper commerce by encouraging residents to purchase more vehicles from neighboring territories and were limiting residents freedom of choice. However, a governor-appointed state Environmental Improvement Board reportedly voted to deny the challenges late last week.

New Mexico is one of several states that has vowed to adopt stringent zero-emission vehicle requirements implemented by California. That effectively makes this piece an addendum to our recent Gas War article pertaining to the Californian emissions waiver.

According to Automotive News, the board voted 4-1 on Friday to deny a motion of stay for a petition filed by the New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association in December. The petition, which was joined by filings from the Garcia Automotive Group and a citizen filed a case with the New Mexico Court of Appeals, sought to question the state’s decision to adopt California’s Advanced Clean Cars II regulatory standards. Ken Ortiz, executive director of the New Mexico dealers association, confirmed the situation.

From Automotive News:

New Mexico has adopted California’s Advanced Clean Cars II program rules. The mandate requires that starting in 2026, 43 percent of all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks, plus 15 percent of new commercial heavy-duty trucks, shipped to New Mexico dealerships from national manufacturers must be zero-emission vehicles. In addition, four of every five passenger cars shipped to New Mexico by manufacturers must have zero emissions by 2032.

Research tracking registered vehicles in New Mexico from the state’s Motor Vehicle Division has revealed that since January 2022, EV sales in the state have not exceeded 4 percent of total vehicle sales, Ortiz said.

“So we have about two years to increase our market penetration by 1,000 percent, going from 4 percent to 43 percent,” Ortiz said. “We just think it’s unreasonable, and we will not be able to achieve that.”

Since the Environmental Improvement Board denied the dealer association’s motion, the Court of Appeals will entertain the appeal and render a decision, which is expected to take up to two years, Ortiz said. Ortiz said the association’s next step is to file a motion to stay with the Court of Appeals.

Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has previously stated that New Mexico should push EVs as a way to address climate change and has been backed by the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board. However, the actual metrics on how much EVs actually pollute are pretty interesting. In many cases, electric vehicles tend to create more pollution upfront during assembly and gradually offset this by spewing no gaseous emissions from its nonexistent exhaust. But that presumes the entirety of its energy is being sourced from renewable, emissions-free sources. This depends heavily upon whether the local power grid is broken down to prioritize renewable, coal, natural gas, or nuclear energy.

However, even if wind and solar are the mainstays, the pollution is often shifted from air pollution to other forms. Not that this matters for New Mexico. Despite having a pretty healthy solar industry, the state still sources the brunt of its electricity from natural gas and coal-fired power plants.

Dealers are far less concerned with that than how these regulatory changes are going to affect their bottom line. EV sales aren’t exactly robust in the United States and the supporting infrastructure tends to be limited to urban areas and major travel corridors. They seem convinced that they’ll be losing out on the ability to sell desirable models that their customers will happily travel out of state to obtain. This mimics what we’ve heard from national dealer networks, who have similarly asked the Biden administration to slow things down.

“We are not opposed to EVs,” Ortiz told the outlet. “We see EVs as part of the transportation puzzle going forward, but we just oppose mandates because we feel that New Mexicans should be able to choose the vehicle of their choice based on their needs, their budget, their lifestyle.”

[Image: ZikG/Shutterstock]

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