Two boards that control air quality voted in favor of adopting rules that will increase the number of zero-emission vehicles in the state and set more stringent testing requirements for heavy-duty vehicles.
The move comes as the state is stringing together a massive effort toward a new transportation future.
The Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board and the state’s Environmental Improvement Board late Thursday night to approve the advanced clean cars II, advanced clean trucks and heavy-duty omnibus rules following four days of public hearings that featured impassioned testimony from industry leaders, environmental advocates and state politicians.
The rules were adopted in a 3-2 vote from the EIB and unanimously by the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board — which will undergo changes as City Councilor Dan Lewis’ bill to withdraw the four city-appointed members of the board passed last week.
On the EIB side, Vice Chair Amanda Trujillo-Davis and Board Member Barry Bitzer voted no.
Matthew Maez, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Environment Department, said the rules will be listed in the State Register by the end of the year, with them ultimately going into effect by January 2026.
“The adoption of these rules is a victory for customer choice, our ambitious climate goals, and cleaner air for every New Mexican,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
The adopted rules will increase the number of imported zero-emission vehicles, or ZEVs, to the state. That starts with model year 2027, which will require auto manufacturers to deliver 43% ZEVS, and then 82% of new vehicles will be ZEVs by 2032.
The advanced clean trucks rule would set similar rules for the delivery of new vehicles like cargo vans, delivery trucks and transit buses. And the heavy-duty omnibus aims to improve the emissions and life of heavy-duty vehicles through stricter testing procedures, NMED officials have said.
As a result, the state said the adoption of the rules will save New Mexicans $300 million in vehicle lifetime fuel savings and maintenance costs and $62 million in health care costs through 2050, as well as reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions and nitrogen oxides.
But the adoption of the rules come as other moves toward clean transportation are making headway in the state. Millions of dollars are currently being put toward charging infrastructure in New Mexico. And a proposed code change, set to be heard in January, aims to increase the number of charging stations for new construction, like apartment buildings.
NMED Secretary James Kenney in a statement called the adoption of the rules an “important step forward for our climate and air quality goals, especially in environmental justice and frontline communities.
“To accelerate the benefits of the rules, we need more clean cars and clean trucks on the road and the Environment Department will work with New Mexico’s urban and rural auto dealerships to make that happen,” Kenney said.