Opinion: Let’s not get left behind when it comes to clean cars, Colorado

Opinion: Let’s not get left behind when it comes to clean cars, Colorado

Now is the wrong moment to hit the brakes on electric vehicles.

Imagine if Coloradans were stuck using VCRs while folks in other states were streaming high-def movies on their phones and flat-screen TVs.

We wouldn’t tolerate it! Coloradans are and always have been on the frontier, and we wouldn’t stand by watching videotapes while our neighbors progressed into the future of entertainment.

Let’s not get left behind when it comes to clean cars. Let’s signal to the auto industry that we’re ready for innovation in clean vehicle design by adopting the Zero-Emission Vehicle Standards.

The outdoor recreation industry is built upon innovation, which includes environmental and social responsibility. At TrailFork that means 100% compostable packaging, donations to environmental nonprofits and advocacy through our membership with the Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance.

But perhaps the most significant obligation we have as an outdoor company is to tackle the No. 1 issue of our time: climate change. Transportation is our nation’s top carbon-emitting sector.

We believe in pragmatic and strategic approaches to this existential issue, which is why TrailFork supports Colorado’s adoption of a Zero-Emission Vehicle Standard.

Recently, members of the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission voted unanimously to consider adoption of a Zero-Emission Vehicle Standard. If finalized, this standard would require automakers to ensure electric vehicles (EVs) comprise at least 5% of the cars they offer to Colorado consumers by 2023.

By 2025, that number would grow to around 9%. EV sales in Colorado are already growing by about 50% each year. The proposed standard averages out to 20% a year, making it more than manageable for automakers who remain competitive with emerging technology.

Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry is reliant upon clean air and scenic landscapes. So while many of us choose trucks and SUVs because they fit our outdoor lifestyle, many Coloradans would prefer to drive the newest electric trucks and zero-emission SUVs and crossovers.

Sadly, that’s not what’s happening. Right now, Colorado consumers can only buy a sliver of the EVs being sold in other states by automakers like Honda and Hyundai. There’s no good reason Coloradans should be denied access to the full marketplace.

Consumer appetite for climate-friendly cars is already strong in Colorado. As one of the top U.S. states for clean car sales, Coloradans want to do our part to curb pollution that drives climate change and harms low-income young people and children of color in our state, including 9,700 Denver Public School students with asthma.

Under the Hickenlooper and Polis administrations, Colorado has made progress. We have built out the necessary infrastructure for clean cars. We have focused on rural places like Durango and Sterling, where consumers can save the most money with EVs due to long commutes.

Colorado also offers a $5,000 tax credit on EV purchases, and right after taking office, Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order propelling us toward a zero-emission standard.

Now is the wrong moment to hit the brakes.

If the commission green-lights the Zero-Emission Vehicle Standard, Colorado could become the 11th state to adopt this kind of standard.

Adding Colorado to the mix would send a signal to the auto industry that while consumers here like cars suitable for our rugged landscapes and outdoor adventures, we’re tired of old-school gas guzzlers and want better, more modern, options.

In these times, folks in the outdoor recreation industry must be doing whatever we can to protect the qualities our industry is dependent upon — clean air, open spaces, and Colorado’s climate.

To move our state in the direction of cleaner transportation, the Air Quality Control Commission should approve the Zero-Emission Vehicle Standard.

Lilian Hoodes is Co-Founder & CEO, TrailFork. Broomfield, Colorado

Article originally posted here on the Colorado Sun. 

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