We Need Standards That Make Sense for Coloradans.

What’s At Stake

Colorado is already a national leader when it comes to progressive environmental standards. We’ve been successful because we’ve set realistic goals. But if our policymakers decide to adopt California ZEV, there will be a lot of work ahead, as the electric vehicle mandate requires that by 2025 ZEV sales account for up to 10% of all vehicles sold in the state. Although new motor vehicles are becoming increasingly efficient, currently, less than 2% of new vehicles sold in the state fit the ZEV designation.

If our policymakers move ahead with adopting the ZEV mandate, they must follow California’s lead and prioritize funding for incentives and building the necessary infrastructure for ZEVs while also leading by example and purchasing ZEVs in mass for state and local government fleets.

Indeed, California has spent the past 10 years investing about $2.5 billion to support and encourage the purchase of ZEVs.  Is Colorado prepared to make the same investment?  Here is what Colorado would have to do to make ZEV a success:

What’s In Play​

Coloradans want to build on the state’s incredible environmental record, but we want to do it the Colorado way.  That is why we are concerned that the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) may soon adopt California’s low emission vehicle standards, often referred to as the LEV standards. These requirements would have virtually no impact on air quality above and beyond federal standards that are in place now.

In addition, later this year, Colorado policymakers are expected to consider implementation of a second California program – the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate, which would require the sale of a certain percentage of battery electric, plug-in and fuel cell vehicles. To be successful, such a program will require our state to dedicate millions of dollars to build and support electric charging and hydrogen fueling stations across the state. The state will also need to focus on providing consumer incentives.

Are our policymakers willing to make that commitment year after year?  Because if they are not, there is no reason to spend any time contemplating such a program.

State Funded Consumer Incentives

Colorado’s current tax credit is already a generous $5,000 per zero emission vehicle. However, consumer demand is still nowhere near the level needed to meet the mandate. Over the last several years, California spent $561 million on electric and hydrogen car rebates and has proposed spending $1.6 billion over the next seven years.  In order to successfully implement the ZEV mandate, Colorado policymakers should be prepared to significantly increase ZEV investments consistently for years to come.

Infrastructure Investment

On top of the consumer incentives, Colorado must invest much more in electric and hydrogen refueling stations.  In California, for example, the governor has proposed an additional $900 million on electric and hydrogen refueling on top of the $220 million the state has already spent.

State Fleet Sales

Colorado should mirror California and lead by example by including ZEVs in its state fleet purchasing programs. The state fleet should include the same percentage of ZEV purchases as would be required by the consumer population under a ZEV mandate.  To compare, between 2013 and 2017, for example, California local and state governments purchased 2,885 zero emission vehicles. During that same time, Colorado only purchased 125 zero emission vehicles.  So to make a ZEV mandate work in Colorado, state and local officials will need to invest considerably in purchasing zero emitting vehicles for government use.

There is another way. The Colorado way.

Adopting a mandate isn’t necessary when our government can explore creative programs and enhanced incentives right now to increase demand in ZEVs.  This could include:

  • Converting the tax credit into a point of sale rebate
  • Extending this rebate through 2025
  • Public Utilities Commission activities to engage utilities in transportation electrification
  • Point of sale tax exemption
  • Tax credits for installation of EV charging equipment
  • Reduced vehicle registration costs for electric vehicles
  • Favorable electricity rate structures and utility rebates for home charging equipment

These approaches make sense for Colorado taxpayers.

What Can


About This?

The AQCC is currently accepting public comment on a proposal to implement California’s low emission vehicle standards.

Tell AQCC: There is no difference between California’s LEV program and the federal program, so leave well enough alone.

The AQCC is planning to initiate a second rulemaking in December to adopt the mandate for zero emission vehicles.

Tell AQCC: Coloradans are already choosing ZEVs at a higher rate than people in many other states, so there is no reason to impose an unnecessary mandate. But if we are going to implement California’s ZEV mandate, the state should be prepared to invest heavily in making it a success for years to come.