CDPHE News: Air Quality Control Commission adopts a zero-emission vehicle standard

The new standard will provide Coloradans with more vehicle choices 

DENVER — The Air Quality Control Commission adopted a zero-emission vehicle standard for Colorado early today in an 8-1 decision. The move is directly aligned with the commission’s mission to achieve the cleanest practical air in every part of the state.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is pursuing aggressive strategies to reduce ozone pollution as quickly as possible, as the state continues to work to meet the federal ozone pollution standard. Fossil-fuel vehicles are a major source of ozone pollution, along with the oil and gas industry. Ozone pollution can cause asthma and other adverse symptoms. Fossil-fuel vehicles also emit greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change.

“We are charged up and ready to roll. The adoption of the zero-emission vehicle standard is a clear demonstration of our unrelenting commitment to making sure every Coloradan has clean air to breathe.” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

John Putnam, environmental programs director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said,  “We are committed to a state where Coloradans can zip up the mountains in a zero-emitting vehicle and go for a hike without coughing and wheezing from ozone. It’s what Coloradans rightfully expect and deserve. We’ve made a lot of progress on cleaning up our air over the past several years, but the standards are getting more stringent.  We have to rise to the challenge.” 

The new zero-emission standard requires automakers to sell more than 5 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2023 and more than 6 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2025. The standard is based on a matrix of credits given for each electric vehicle sold, depending on the vehicle’s zero-emission range.

The new requirement does not mandate consumers to purchase electric vehicles, but experts say it will result in manufacturers selling a wider range of models in Colorado, including SUVs and light trucks.

“The zero-emission standard does not compel anyone to buy an electric vehicle. It only requires manufacturers to increase ZEV sales from 2.6 percent to 6.23 percent. It’s a modest proposal in the face of a critical threat. Where the federal government refuses to act– states must lead. Time is of the essence,” said Garry Kaufman, director, Air Pollution Control Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

The Air Quality Control Commission prioritizes stakeholder engagement and public input.

The commission invited public comment at various hours of the day and evening, and also invited remote testimony by telephone to make it easier for those who could not travel to the Front Range. The commission’s decision came after a robust public comment period, as well as significant written and oral testimony from parties providing information on all aspects of the standard.

“The Commission was impressed by the overwhelming amount of public support for electric vehicles from urban and rural areas throughout the state. They noted that the public want these vehicles, want them more quickly, and want more choices,” said Trisha Oeth, director of Environmental Boards and Commissions, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

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By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.