Coalition Makes Its Case Against California Car Mandates

(Denver-Colorado) A coalition of concerned citizens and businesses leading the fight against Colorado’s adoption of California zero emission vehicle mandates today made public its key arguments against the costly new rules, which currently are under review by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission. An economic impact analysis commissioned by the nonpartisan Freedom to Drive Coalition, also made public, found that the new burdens imposed on Coloradans by these rules might actually degrade air quality in the state, by driving up new car costs and keeping many older vehicles on the road longer.  (View Report)

“This analysis blows major holes in the state’s flimsy and dubious justifications for adopting California car mandates that haven’t worked there and may fail even more spectacularly here,” said Coalition spokeswoman Sara Almerri. “These actions because of their broad policy implications should be approved by the Legislature. They will needlessly increase the cost of basic transportation for average Coloradans, while doing nothing but potential harm when it comes to air quality in the state.”

“Paying more so you can get less, in terms of air quality improvements, just defies common sense, which is why we are against imposing California car mandates on Coloradans,” added Ms. Almerri, citing the findings of a report prepared by the respected Energy Ventures Analysis. “There’s no sound economic or environmental case to be made for rules that may soon be negated by outside factors and have failed to deliver the promised results in the state where they were written.”

The Coalition’s case against the mandates, based on the Energy Ventures Analysis study, can be summarized as follows:

In its haste to rush these policies forward, the state failed in its duty to thoroughly and objectively analyze the potential future impacts, overselling purported benefits while ignoring many potential costs.

The state cherry-picked its metrics to put a positive spin on future outcomes, but a comprehensive and holistic look indicates that costs will probably far outweigh benefits.

Approval of these mandates would be premature and inappropriate at this time, given the legal and regulatory uncertainties created by court challenges and pending federal actions.

Approval of these rules will impose a disproportionately large burden on rural Coloradans and Coloradans of limited means.

Any actions that needlessly increase new car costs also will decrease new car purchases, which will harm air quality in Colorado by keeping many older, less efficient, used vehicles on the road longer.

The report’s other key findings are as follows: (see Report)

  • ♦ Evidence suggests that a ZEV regulation paired with the LEV regulation may cause greenhouse gas emissions and criteria pollutant emissions to increase because of the structure of LEV.
  • ♦ Colorado’s adoption of California’s low and zero emissions vehicle rules could increase the cost of a new vehicle by between $1,500 and $3,000 by 2025. (Research has shown that every $2,000 increase in the cost of a new vehicle decreases total new vehicle purchases by 10%.)
  • ♦The state’s failure to analyze interlinking policies to ZEV obscures the true cost of the regulation.
  • ♦ The state’s analysis fails to quantify meaningful impacts of the regulation on auto dealers, refiners, auto mechanics and other valuable job providers.
  • ♦ The state failed to quantify the impact of income tax credits for ZEV vehicles, and thus ignores that not all Coloradans can take advantage of such tax credits
  • ♦ The state’s analysis fails to quantify the impact of reduced gas tax revenue on the Colorado Department of Transportation’s budget, which causes the analysis to underestimate the true cost.
  • ♦ The increased vehicle cost of adding a ZEV regulation in addition to a LEV regulation could cause emissions to increase by roughly 1 million tons of CO2 through 2040.
  • ♦ The net present value of the regulation is negative when considering increased average vehicle costs and the fuel savings benefit. Stated another way, the present value of increased vehicle costs is $880 million whereas the present value of fuel savings is $307 million.

Almerri noted that these cost estimates probably are on the conservative side, and aren’t comprehensive, given how little time there is for carefully studying the implications due to the rushed nature of the rulemaking process. But somebody has to do the homework the state won’t, she said, given the dramatic impact these rules will have on every Coloradan.