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New Mexico EV mandate will remain in place, despite opposition from auto dealers

A mandate requiring dealerships to offer more electric vehicles for sale across New Mexico will remain as members of a governor-appointed state Environmental Improvement Board voted last week to deny challenges, including from the state dealers association.

The board voted 4-1 on Friday to deny a motion to stay a petition filed by the New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association. The association on Dec. 21 along with the Garcia Automotive Group, and a citizen filed a case with the New Mexico Court of Appeals regarding the board’s final ruling in November to implement California’s Advanced Clean Cars II regulation, said Ken Ortiz, executive director of the New Mexico dealers association.

New Mexico has adopted California’s Advanced Clean Cars II program rules. The mandate requires that starting in 2026, 43 percent of all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks, plus 15 percent of new commercial heavy-duty trucks, shipped to New Mexico dealerships from national manufacturers must be zero-emission vehicles. In addition, four of every five passenger cars shipped to New Mexico by manufacturers must have zero emissions by 2032.

Research tracking registered vehicles in New Mexico from the state’s Motor Vehicle Division has revealed that since January 2022, EV sales in the state have not exceeded 4 percent of total vehicle sales, Ortiz said.

“So we have about two years to increase our market penetration by 1,000 percent, going from 4 percent to 43 percent,” Ortiz said. “We just think it’s unreasonable, and we will not be able to achieve that.”

Since the Environmental Improvement Board denied the dealer association’s motion, the Court of Appeals will entertain the appeal and render a decision, which is expected to take up to two years, Ortiz said. Ortiz said the association’s next step is to file a motion to stay with the Court of Appeals.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham supports more EVs in the state, hoping that they will help address climate change concerns. The Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board also supports the mandate.

The New Mexico association represents 110 franchised dealers. Dealers worry that the mandate will negatively impact rural communities that are not equipped with infrastructure for EV charging and also are concerned about EV vehicle affordability for customers in the state.

“We are not opposed to EVs,” Ortiz said. “We see EVs as part of the transportation puzzle going forward, but we just oppose mandates because we feel that New Mexicans should be able to choose the vehicle of their choice based on their needs, their budget, their lifestyle.”


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