NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexicans looking to buy a car, are about to see a lot more electric vehicles on the lot, after the state adopted new clean car rules.

After public comment this week from both sides, New Mexico’s Environmental Improvement Board and the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board took action. “I believe that embracing cleaner, more sustainable transportation options is not only beneficial to our environment but also essential for the health and wellbeing of our residents,” said Clean Energy Equity Fellow at the Center for Civic Policy Samantha Salazar during the hearing between the boards.

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Both boards approved rules on Thursday that require manufacturers to deliver more zero-emissions vehicles to New Mexico. “This state and the current EV movement is not even close to being ready for any sort of mandate requiring this,” said Billy Scribner with the Garcia Automotive Group during the meeting on Tuesday.  

The rule starts in 2026 when auto manufacturers will be required to make sure 43% of their vehicles delivered to the state are zero emission. “That percentage continues to step up until 2032, when 82% of vehicles delivered to the state by manufacturers have to be zero-emission vehicles,” said Deputy Cabinet Secretary of Administration at the New Mexico Environment Department Sydney Lienemann.

New Mexico Environment Department officials said the new rules make buying electric vehicles easier for New Mexicans. “What people can expect to see is just more access to wider variety of vehicles when they go to both new and eventually used auto dealerships in the state,” said Lienemann.

The Environment Department mentioned some car dealers are already investing in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and training. However, the department admits the infrastructure still needs to be built up in rural areas.

Those who lobbied against the rules added it could make buying a car more expensive for New Mexicans, given the current cost of electric vehicles. The Environment Department claims those prices are getting lower, especially with the potential of electric vehicle tax credits. “The technology is here, and now it’s just a matter of us making sure we’ve got all of the policies in place,” added Lienemann.

The updated rules were approved in a 3 to 2 vote by the state board and unanimously by the metro’s air quality control board.