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The smattering of rain that fell across New Mexico this past summer did little to alleviate the record-breaking heat we experienced. With relentless summer heat the new normal, it is more important than ever that we take concrete steps to try and combat the climate crisis we are already experiencing. 

One important step is the petition filed by the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) with the Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) on July 7th, asking them to adopt Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) and Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) rules. Through the CVNM Education Fund (CVNMEF), we are working with a coalition to build on last year’s Advanced Clean Cars I rule. These new proposed standards can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, provide long-term protection for New Mexicans from pollution, and help combat climate change.

 Air pollution from cars and trucks is the second-largest source of climate pollution in New Mexico. The harm disproportionately impacts lower-income communities, communities of color, children, elders, and anyone with respiratory conditions. Zero-emission cars and trucks are the swiftest way to reduce the transportation sector’s pollution and climate emissions. 

NMED’s petition would require 82% of new passenger cars and trucks sold in New Mexico to have zero tailpipe emissions by 2032. As with the ACC I rulemaking, the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board, which has independent authority in that jurisdiction, has filed its own petition with the EIB. The New Mexico Clean Air Coalition is planning to participate in the November hearing on the two petitions. The Coalition, which includes CVNM, came together as a subgroup to focus specifically on the clean cars and trucks rulemaking. Most members are also part of a New Mexicans Need Clean Cars and Clean Trucks much broader climate coalition that has been active, and expanding, for several years and which covers a wide range of climate action in New Mexico and beyond. 

This work aims to bring ACC II and ACT in line with the current standard set by California, which mandates that 100% of vehicles sold be emission-free by 2035. If the EIB approves the standards this year, the Advanced Clean Cars and Trucks standards will go into effect for modelyear 2027 cars and trucks arriving for sale in 2026. 

Codification of Advanced Clean Cars II and Advanced Clean Trucks will be a tremendous benefit for New Mexico. The rules will save lives by reducing air pollution, help to address the climate crisis, and save New Mexicans money. Electric vehicles (EV) have proven to be a financially sound decision when purchasing a new vehicle. Between tax incentives and lower fuel and maintenance costs, choosing an EV over a conventional combustion engine makes good economic sense. As EV’s become more common, a used vehicle market will develop and make EVs more affordable for all drivers.

 The rulemaking hearing is slated for November 13th through the 16th. The EIB hearings will take place in Bigbee Auditorium at the State Bar Center, 5121 Masthead Street in Albuquerque. As opportunities to engage in rulemaking arise, we will keep you informed so that you can participate in the ways that you can. 

Together, we can ensure New Mexico achieves the highest quality standards for future vehicle sales. We need these standards for our health and for the health of the environment. When the opportunity becomes available, make sure you submit a public comment and help to make a cleaner future a reality for all New Mexicans.