ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – They’re rules looking to change what kind of new cars can be sold by New Mexico dealerships over the next decade. As state and metro leaders evaluate changes, they’re getting a lot of feedback.
“We are having a hard time feeding our families, let alone putting out at least $50,000 for a vehicle,” said one community member during Tuesday’s public hearing between the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board and Environmental Improvement Board.
“Clean cars and trucks will also advance our efforts to address the climate change crisis,” said another community member.
Across days of public comment this week, the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board is evaluating if they should accept changes to the state’s clean car rules.
“We all want clean air, but increasing the quota very quickly is very hard on everybody,” said Sen. George Muñoz (D-Gallup) during the meeting.
As the governor has ordered state agencies to switch to all-electric vehicles in the next 12 years, the state is also evaluating a shift on which types of vehicles can be sold at dealerships. One proposed rule would require car makers to deliver 80% of their stock to New Mexico as zero-emission vehicles by 2032. Another rule would decrease the amount of allowable emissions from heavy-duty diesel and gasoline-powered trucks.
“All they would do is create requirements for automobile manufacturers to send more electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to the state,” said Sydney Lienemann, Deputy Cabinet Secretary of administration for the New Mexico Environment Department.
The New Mexico Environment Department hopes the rule changes would give consumers more options to buy electric vehicles and they said it would not ban gas-powered vehicles. However, some people are petitioning to stop the rules from being voted on. “This is something that should be done by the elected officials of New Mexico, not an appointed board,” said President of Rio Grande Foundation, Paul Gessing which put together the Keep Your Cars NM petition.
The local air quality board has scheduled four days of public comment on the rules, but a vote could come any time in that window.
A New Mexico Department of Transportation representative testified Tuesday and mentioned the state has nearly one hundred vehicle charging stations under construction now, set to be finished by the end of the year. However, they also admitted to a lack of charger construction in New Mexico’s more rural areas.