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Colorado partially adopts California’s EV rules but falls short of 2035 ban

Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission unanimously approved a new Colorado Clean Car rule, which essentially follows California’s “Advanced Clean Cars 2” rule but falls short of setting a 2035 target for 100% EV sales.

Last year, California finalized a rule which would lead to 100% EV sales for new vehicles by 2035. The rule targets increasing percentages of new EV sales between now and 2035, culminating in 100% ZEV and PHEV sales by that date.

At the time (and now) we noted that this timeline could have been sooner for California, given its status as the leading state in EV adoption in the US (and could probably stand to exclude PHEVs as well). But the California Air Resources Board reasoned that, by setting a more lenient rule, other states could more easily adopt the full rule, thus creating a bigger bloc of states to push the auto industry in the direction it ought to be moving.

So far, several other states have adopted the rule, including New York, Washington, Oregon, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Maryland. Washington has even done one better, setting a target of 2030, rather than 2035.

Colorado today joined the list, but only adopted a partial implementation. The new Colorado rule targets 82% new EV sales of by 2032, which is in line with California’s target for that year, but does not set targets for years beyond 2032. you can see how these percentages line up in the charts below:

While the vote was unanimous and mostly tracks the California rule, environmental groups like the Western Resource Advocates and Natural Resources Defense Council were disappointed that Colorado did not adopt the full California 2035 rule.

Colorado has areas of exceptionally poor air quality, particularly in the Northern Front Range, which is home to Denver and its environs and is the most populous area of the state. The area is in severe nonattainment of EPA pollution targets and must act to reduce the deadly smog that has increasingly plagued Colorado’s residents.

We covered this in another story recently about Colorado considering a ban on gas lawn equipment, another significant contributor to poor air quality. But ending fossil fuel use for transport would have a much larger total positive effect on air quality than eliminating gas lawn equipment would.

For its part, the state says that the 2035 target is not off the table, it’s just been kicked down the road a little bit. While Colorado has not yet adopted the full rule, the CAQCC says it will consider full adoption of California’s ACC2 rule no later than 2029. Lets hope it does – or maybe, like Washington, it could one-up California and push the timeline a little sooner.

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