Commentary: Gov. Lujan Grisham on Tuesday announced that New Mexico will be proposing, adopting and implementing clean car standards, standing shoulder to shoulder with states demonstrating environmental leadership across the country. The governor made the announcement at Climate Week in New York City, joining other U.S. governors on a panel to discuss states advancing ambitious climate action in the face of federal inaction.
While highlighting the bold and forward-thinking actions New Mexico is taking to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Gov. Lujan Grisham announced that the state, by the end of next year, will adopt clean car standards that are more stringent than the federal government’s, increasing vehicle standards to ultimately require new cars beginning in model year 2022 sold in New Mexico to emit fewer greenhouse gases and other pollutants. The clean car standards will increase the average fuel economy to 52 miles per gallon, as opposed to just 37 miles per gallon under the proposed federal rollbacks. New Mexico will join fourteen other states in adopting clean car standards.
“To combat climate change, to keep New Mexico’s citizens safe, to protect the air we all breathe, it’s essential we adopt more stringent clean car standards that increase fuel economy and reduce emissions,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “It is environmentally and economically counterproductive to stall fuel economy standards as contemplated by the proposed federal rollbacks. While President Trump threatens to rob New Mexico and indeed all states of a valuable tool for combating air pollution and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, New Mexico will stand up and deliver on our commitment to environmental leadership.”
Gov. Lujan Grisham in January set New Mexico on a path toward adopting low emission and zero emission vehicle standards in an executive order on climate change and energy waste, one of her first executive actions as governor, before joining 23 other governors in signing onto the U.S. Climate Alliance’s Clean Car Promise, leading 52 percent of the population and 57 percent of the economy toward cleaner cars.
Pollution from transportation accounts for a large portion of New Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions and contributes heavily to the area’s growing ozone problem. Already, seven New Mexico counties are nearing problematic ground-level ozone levels, which cause respiratory illnesses and disproportionately affect the state’s most vulnerable populations. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that vehicle standards have the ability to make a significant improvement in air quality, including ground-level ozone levels.
Today’s announcement on clean car standards follows the governor’s directive to New Mexico regulatory agencies to develop groundbreaking methane mitigation rules for the oil and gas industry that will dramatically reduce climate pollution, improve air quality, and limit energy waste, all while capturing methane to increase funding for New Mexico schools.