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Colorado Becomes 10th State to Adopt Zero Emission Vehicle Program

DENVER - Today, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) voted 8-1 to adopt a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program, what could become a critical step in reducing transportation emissions from gas-guzzling vehicles, tackling the climate crisis, and protecting public health. In late July, automakers and state officials struck a deal where automakers agreed to support the ZEV program and not challenge it in court, in exchange for an eased compliance pathway in the early years of the program.

Colorado is the first Mountain West state to adopt a ZEV program. The ZEV program now has a total of 11 states, including California, Connecticut, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. This program should significantly increase the number and type of electric vehicles available for sale across the state--cars that everyday Coloradans want to buy. Ahead of today’s vote, more than 6,000 Coloradans called on the AQCC to adopt the ZEV program.

Adopting the ZEV program builds upon a year of progress on electrifying transportation in Colorado that began with Governor Jared Polis' executive order directing the Air Quality Control Commission to evaluate the ZEV program. Colorado also passed new laws that will expand public charging infrastructure and extend electric vehicle tax credits, laying the groundwork for more Coloradans to drive electric.

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According to an analysis of the rule by the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment’s Air Control Pollution Division, adopting ZEV in Colorado will cut 3.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and 307 metric tons of ozone precursor pollution through model year 2030. Electric vehicles also offer a significant cost savings for consumers to fuel and maintain, costing the equivalent of $1 per gallon to fuel and with significantly lower maintenance costs. The state estimates that adopting the rule will save Coloradans more than $1 billion through 2030.

In response, Emily Gedeon, the Conservation Program Director of the Colorado Sierra Club, released the following statement: 

“Today’s vote to adopt the ZEV program is a big step towards reducing transportation pollution for Coloradans across the state, which is a triple win for our health, our climate, and our wallets. We applaud the AQCC and Governor Polis for making Colorado the first Mountain West state to adopt a ZEV program. We are closely tracking the automakers’ agreement to make sure that it doesn't slow down progress on bringing electric vehicles to our smoggy state. Our communities deserve mobility options that don’t pollute the places we live and play in. Automakers must now deliver on their support for clean cars and uphold their promise to support the authority of Colorado and any other state to adopt a ZEV program.”

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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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