Mar 19, 2021 - News

Colorado lawmakers push for faster shift to electric vehicles

Illustration of electric cars and lightning bolts

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Colorado lawmakers are forging ahead to meet Gov. Jared Polis’ ambitious goal of putting nearly a million electric vehicles on state roads by 2030 — up from about 34,000 now. But the state appears unlikely to meet the goal.

Why it matters: Car exhaust from burning fossil fuels is the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

  • Cracking down on transit pollution is a key component of Colorado’s climate action plan, which calls for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 90% by 2050.

State of play: State lawmakers are pushing harder to force a faster shift.

  • Yesterday, lawmakers proposed a $4 billion transportation plan that would charge new fees on gas, online package deliveries and more, in part to reduce air pollution and raise funds for electric vehicles.
  • Registration fees for EVs would rise to $9 a year in 2022 and increase to $90 by July 2031 to compensate for the loss of fuel taxes.

Yes, but: From the price of EVs to the scarcity of charging stations, industry experts say consumers still share uncertainty when it comes to making the leap.

  • Colorado, which ranks fourth in the U.S. for EV sales, needs to ramp up EV adoption by roughly 13.5 times the current rate to fulfill Polis’ plan, the Denver Business Journal reports.

Of note: On Wednesday, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission greenlit a partnership with Rivian, an electric vehicle company, that will put at least two EV chargers in all 42 state parks.

Flashback: Colorado legislators passed a bill in 2019 requiring car dealers to sell more EVs and additional models to consumers.

Between the lines: State leaders are depending on EV sales to increase in coming years, justifying local government investments and mirroring similar investments by the private sector, including car companies like General Motors, which pledged to solely produce EVs by 2035.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Denver.

More Denver stories