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State to consider next steps in EV transition

Next month, a joint hearing between the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board and the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board will be held to consider rules meant to speed up the transition from fossil fuels to electric vehicles.

At their heart, the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) and Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) rules would set electric vehicle sale targets for medium and heavy-duty vehicles.

They would only apply to automakers, not dealers, and the state would require 82% of all new vehicles delivered to meet zero-emission standards by 2032 –– boosting to 100% by the year 2035.

“These regulations are a quadruple win,” said Kathy Harris, an advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “They’re a win for air quality… A win for human health… A win for the economy… And they're a win for the climate.”

Harris said the proposal would help nudge New Mexico in the right direction.

“So it's not like every vehicle on the road is going to be electric,” Harris said. “There are still going to be many, many gasoline vehicles on the roads for many years to come.”

This hearing is the culmination of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s wishes to build on past legislation.

Last year, the Environmental Improvement Board approved the New Mexico Clean Cars Rule, which requires automakers to provide an increasing number of zero-emission cars and light trucks for sale, among other emission standards.

Though, it's unclear how these rules would be affected by bills set into motion by Albuquerque City Councilor and oil and gas executive Dan Lewis looking to completely replace the Air Quality Control Board and potentially undermine its regulation authority. Environmental advocates predict city councilors will support bills by Lewis at their Nov. 8th meeting, given the council’s current conservative leaning.

The in-person EV rule hearing is scheduled for November 13th and is estimated to last three days. Public comment can still be submitted until the hearing ends.

Bryce Dix is our local host for NPR's Morning Edition.
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