DENVER — Car dealerships in the State of Colorado will soon be required to keep more electric vehicles on their lots. The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission Friday passed new new Zero Emissions Vehicle standards. The policy was one of the first executive orders signed by Governor Jared Polis who said in a statement that he wants consumers to have more choices when car shopping.
"I asked for the Department of Public Health and Environment to increase the choices Coloradans have when it comes to purchasing electric cars by increasing the number of models available in our state, and we got it done within a few short months," Polis said. "It's only the beginning. Colorado must continue to reduce smog and increase consumer choice."
Beginning with the model year 2023, a minimum of 5 percent of all new cars offered for sale must be electric or zero emission vehicles. That percentage will increase to 6.5 percent by full roll-out.
"This will require them to meet that percentage and to do that they're going to have to bring more cars to Colorado," explained Garry Kaufman, director of the Air Pollution Control Division.
Our cars, trucks, and SUVs are the largest sources of air pollution behind coal burning power plants. Kaufman said these rules should help reduce smog, which is especially bad in Denver.
"Denver's ozone is out of attainment of with national ambient air quality standards," said Kaufman. "Other communities, while still in attainment, still face high levels of ozone."
There's a price to this regulation, one that the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association believe will come from consumers. Their study found that when the zero emission vehicles standards are combined with last year's low-emission vehicle mandate, the average price a new car will go up by $2,600.
"Twenty six hundred dollars on the cost of a new car, which was already approaching $40,000 puts a real strain on people who are trying to make ends meet," said Matthew Groves, Vice President of Legal and Regulator Affairs for CADA.
He points out that about 2.6 percent of all new cars sold in Colorado are electric vehicles. State and federal tax credits are fueling that demand.
"Electric vehicles are on the lots right now, if somebody wants a vehicle, they can not only go find one," Groves said. "They can get $7,500 back from the federal government, and $5,000 back from the state government."
The auto dealers sued the State back in January over the way in which the low-emission mandate was rushed through. Groves explained that his group thought the State skipped some steps in the process.
The case is currently being heard on appeal because a lower court judge thought the association wasn't the appropriate party to file suit.