Switching to electric vehicles is right road









How cool would it be to have your car run on solar or wind energy? It may sound like a myth, but electric vehicles (EVs) powered by New Mexico’s electricity grid are getting cleaner every day as our state continues the transition to carbon-free electricity generated from renewable resources. Even today, EVs in New Mexico produce three times less global-warming pollution than the average gas-powered car.

According to the recently released New Mexico Climate Strategy report, statewide emissions have exploded with a 50% increase since 2005, and transportation recently surpassed the electricity sector as the second-largest source of global-warming pollution in our state economy. Unfortunately, we are not alone in our emissions gluttony, leading to the staggering impacts from climate change that are becoming more visible every year.

New Mexico’s temperature has increased about 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 45 years. That might not sound like much, but the consequences of that are Santa Fe feels more like Albuquerque, and Albuquerque feels more like Las Cruces. Climate change is destabilizing our natural areas, and the signs are all around us.

Elephant Butte Reservoir is nearly empty at only 11% capacity, and irrigation in the middle Rio Grande was cut short by a month last fall and this spring due to low river flows.

Our monsoon season is becoming less reliable. Snowpack is accumulating less and melting earlier, reducing our already scarce water supplies.

Nearly 90% of the state exists in severe to exceptional drought status. Agencies are expecting the Rio Grande to go dry in Albuquerque, something that hasn’t happened in more than 30 years.

This affects our economy and our health.

Currently New Mexicans emit 70% more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than the average American. The good news is each of us can contribute to the solution by working to reduce our transportation emissions. Let me explain.

The GHG emissions reduction goals set by the 2019 Energy Transition Act (ETA) and signed by the governor require an increasing proportion of light-duty cars sold and used in New Mexico to be electric. Electric transportation is one of New Mexico’s most powerful climate tools. Research shows New Mexicans could reduce GHGs by up to 88% by 2050 by making this one change.

We aren’t asking you to go out and buy a new or used car tomorrow. What we are asking is that the next time you plan to make a vehicle purchase, you consider a plug-in electric vehicle.

Here are a few suggestions on how you can think globally and act locally to cut air pollution in your community and protect our health and the environment.

• Encourage your local city, town or county government to transition their fleet to EVs.

• Support local transit and their conversion to electric buses.

• Business owners can begin to convert to EVs on their regular replacement schedule.

• Local businesses can consider installing an EV charging station.

• Support local city, town and county bike infrastructure or walkability to get people out of their cars.

• Get an electric bike to run local errands.

• Support statewide clean car standards.

There are many other ways to reduce emissions, so get creative. We must work together to protect the health of our communities and the health of our future.

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