New Mexico EV Mandate Stands After Opposition from Car Dealers

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

The State of New Mexico has denied a petition put forward by automotive dealers to ease off on planned electric vehicle mandates. The groups had claimed that forcing electrification would hamper commerce by encouraging residents to purchase more vehicles from neighboring territories and were limiting residents freedom of choice. However, a governor-appointed state Environmental Improvement Board reportedly voted to deny the challenges late last week.

New Mexico is one of several states that has vowed to adopt stringent zero-emission vehicle requirements implemented by California. That effectively makes this piece an addendum to our recent Gas War article pertaining to the Californian emissions waiver.

According to Automotive News, the board voted 4-1 on Friday to deny a motion of stay for a petition filed by the New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association in December. The petition, which was joined by filings from the Garcia Automotive Group and a citizen filed a case with the New Mexico Court of Appeals, sought to question the state’s decision to adopt California's Advanced Clean Cars II regulatory standards. Ken Ortiz, executive director of the New Mexico dealers association, confirmed the situation.

From Automotive News:

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 Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has previously stated that New Mexico should push EVs as a way to address climate change and has been backed by the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board. However, the actual metrics on how much EVs actually pollute are pretty interesting. In many cases, electric vehicles tend to create more pollution upfront during assembly and gradually offset this by spewing no gaseous emissions from its nonexistent exhaust. But that presumes the entirety of its energy is being sourced from renewable, emissions-free sources. This depends heavily upon whether the local power grid is broken down to prioritize renewable, coal, natural gas, or nuclear energy.

However, even if wind and solar are the mainstays, the pollution is often shifted from air pollution to other forms. Not that this matters for New Mexico. Despite having a pretty healthy solar industry, the state still sources the brunt of its electricity from natural gas and coal-fired power plants.

Dealers are far less concerned with that than how these regulatory changes are going to affect their bottom line. EV sales aren’t exactly robust in the United States and the supporting infrastructure tends to be limited to urban areas and major travel corridors. They seem convinced that they’ll be losing out on the ability to sell desirable models that their customers will happily travel out of state to obtain. This mimics what we've heard from national dealer networks, who have similarly asked the Biden administration to slow things down.

"We are not opposed to EVs," Ortiz told the outlet. "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."

[Image: ZikG/Shutterstock]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 21 comments
  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Apr 11, 2024

    Dealers can just drive ICE's around the block and sell them "used" with the warranty intact, with 3-bucks off the MSRP.

  • Carson D Carson D on Apr 12, 2024

    It's thinking like this that makes West Virginia seem like the Garden of Eden compared to living in New Mexico.

  • KOKing "One of the most interesting parts of this situation is that Stellantis, and by extension, the Chrysler Group, is increasingly considered a foreign company instead of a traditional American automaker."Does that mean Simca and Hillman are coming back?
  • Redapple2 34 yr in Michigan salt?
  • Mike-NB2 Zero. Not interested at all. I often don't have my phone with me, and if I do, I completely ignore it. Unless it were to catch fire, of course. But I'm old, so that has to be taken into account too.
  • Urlik It’s only important to me for navigation. OEM’s do Nav all wrong and charge for the privilege. While once they charged big money for map updates, they charge subscriptions for the privilege of a worse Nav than you have on your phone.The other stuff mirroring brings is mere gravy.
  • Rna65689660 Zero interest