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Now Is The Time For Clean Vehicles In New Mexico

New Mexico could see public health and economic benefits if the state adopts three clean vehicle rules this year: the Advanced Clean Truck rule, the Heavy-Duty NOx Omnibus rules, and the Advanced Clean Cars II rule.

A new, independent analysis shows that clean truck rules will deliver $3.3 billion in total net societal benefits for New Mexico. The two truck rules, the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) and Heavy-Duty Omnibus (HDO) rules, would slash toxic air pollution, protect public health, and stimulate the economy. Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II), which may be considered jointly, will only increase these benefits for New Mexico.

The analysis, by Environmental Resource Management (ERM) group, shows that the rules will work together to protect New Mexicans from harmful air pollution, saving $598 million in public health costs by 2050 and reducing hospital visits, missed workdays, and even premature deaths.

The HDO rule will reduce air pollutants like nitrogen oxides (NOx) and fine particulate matter (PM) by 90 percent by 2027 by ensuring new diesel truck engines are tested and updated with the most recent pollution control technologies. The ACT and ACC II will ramp up manufacturer sales requirements for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), slashing tailpipe air pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the ACT rule alone would lower greenhouse gas emissions from trucks by more than 45 percent from 2022 levels.

The rules will also stimulate New Mexico’s economy, growing GDP by $84 million by 2035, supporting hundreds of high-paying jobs, and attracting local infrastructure investments. Fleets and consumers will save money by filling up with less expensive electricity.

Analysis of the ACC II rule benefits for New Mexico is forthcoming. In Colorado, similar analysis has found that cumulative net benefits from ACC II will exceed $7.6 billion by 2050, saving customers money on vehicles and utility bills and protecting the state from the cost of greenhouse gas emissions.

New Mexico should adopt the clean vehicle rules to eliminate transportation-related air pollution and emissions while jumpstarting the market for zero-emission cars and trucks. Together, these three rules would pave the way for a cleaner, healthier future for all New Mexicans.

Take action: tell the state you support clean car and truck standards in 2023.

Protecting Public Health

Trucks have an outsized impact on air pollution. Despite making up only 10 percent of the vehicles on the road in New Mexico, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles contribute to 64 percent of NOx pollution, 58 percent of PM pollution, and 35 percent of transportation greenhouse gas emissions.

Figure 1: ERM, “New Mexico Clean Trucks Program,” 2023.

Zero-emission vehicles can protect New Mexicans from the serious health impacts of air pollution, including asthma, lung infections, cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, reproductive harm, and even premature deaths. The report estimates that, by 2050, the ACT and HDO rules would prevent 28,065 minor health cases related to air pollution, 46 hospital visits, and 51 premature deaths. Advanced Clean Cars II will only increase these life-saving benefits.

Moreover, communities of color and low-income communities in New Mexico are more likely to live near major truck routes, ports, or warehouses, where they experience significantly more air pollution than white or wealthier residents. Although new vehicle emission standards do not guarantee emission reductions in frontline communities, these rules, paired with complementary targeted policies, can help alleviate this inequitable burden.

Economic Benefits

By adopting the ACT and HDO rules, New Mexico could realize $3.3 billion in cumulative net societal benefits. By 2050, the clean truck rules will:

  • Save $598 million in public health costs
  • Save fleet owners $255 million due to decreased fuel and maintenance costs
  • Save $1.8 million from the avoided social cost of greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing transportation emissions by 45 percent

The macroeconomic benefits don’t end there. The report estimates that adopting the clean truck rules could add over 2,300 new jobs through 2045 — with an average annual compensation of $93,768 — including charging infrastructure construction workers, electrical component manufacturers, and engineers. New Mexico’s GDP will subsequently rise $84 million by 2035.

Air pollution-related health impacts are expensive. By 2050, the clean truck rules would contribute to $598 million in health benefits across the state, which translates to savings in your wallet.

Small businesses and fleet owners will save $56,500 on a clean truck over its lifetime, and owners of clean cars can save $10,000, due to decreased fuel and maintenance costs.

Figure 2: ERM, “New Mexico Clean Trucks Program,” 2023.

Clean vehicles promise fuel price stability, as shown in Figure 3 below. Car owners often arrive at the gas pump to see dramatically different prices due to geopolitical or extreme weather events. Not only do these prices outstrip the cost of filling up with electricity, but they also make household budgeting a challenge, particularly for families who spend a large portion of income on transportation or energy costs.

Gasoline and Electricity Prices.

Clean Vehicles are Feasible Now

Six other states have already adopted the Advanced Clean Cars II and clean truck rules, and we anticipate additional states adopting the rules in 2023. There are already hundreds of models of zero-emission cars and trucks, and more are added every month. New Mexico needs the clean vehicle rules to ensure that a variety of quality clean vehicle models are brought to the state.

Many types of funding exist to support the transition to ZEVs. New Mexicans can take advantage of grants for ZEV trucks and $38 million for charging infrastructure, federal tax credits of up to $40,000 of the purchase price of a zero-emission truck and $7,500 for a zero-emission car, and utility rebates for new chargers.

New Mexico Should Adopt Clean Vehicle Rules Now

New Mexico can be a leader in advancing zero-emission vehicles, and must do so to have any chance of meeting statutory emission reduction goals. The ACT, ACC II, and HDO rules will energize the market for zero-emission cars and trucks, protect public health, create jobs, and lead to economic growth. Adopting these rules would put New Mexico’s transportation on a cleaner, healthier, and more equitable path.

New Mexico must start the rulemaking process in 2023, or risk foregoing the myriad of benefits to local communities and the state as a whole. Because the rules set an accelerating sales requirement, 2023 adoption gives manufacturers and dealers time to ramp up sales of vehicles that are currently going to other states — and will give New Mexicans more clean vehicle options sooner. If we fail to act this year, New Mexico will miss out on years of benefits, as the standard won’t take effect until model year 2028. We cannot afford to slow New Mexico’s transition to clean, advanced technology and tangible benefits for all residents.

Take action and tell New Mexico that the time for clean vehicle rules is now.

By Claire Lang-Ree, Courtesy of NRDC.

 
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Written By

NRDC is the nation's most effective environmental action group, combining the grassroots power of 1.3 million members and online activists with the courtroom clout and expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists, and other professionals.

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