Far-left Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced she had issued an executive order Monday directing state agencies to transition to fully electric vehicle (EV) fleets within the next 12 years. Exceptions for heavy equipment and emergency vehicles were also announced at the Symposium on the Future of Transportation in New Mexico. Governor Lujan Grisham also expressed plans to request “robust” electric vehicle tax credits during the upcoming legislative session in January 2023. It is unclear what counts as “robust” to the governor.
EV tax credits are likely a strategic move by the governor, who faced fury from the eco-leftists after she line-item vetoed tax credits from the legislative budget passed earlier this year.
“These were important but way too small,” Lujan Grisham said of the vetoed tax credits. “These benefits were so small, they don’t move the needle. Sometimes, when you get something, you don’t get a second bite at it.”
In response, the dark money eco-left group, the Sierra Club of the Rio Grande Chapter, posted, “@GovMLG are you truly saying that you vetoed the electric vehicle tax credit that we’ve all been working on for the last 15 years because it was too small? Those were thousands of EVs for low-income New Mexicans that now won’t have that benefit.”
Others charged the governor with “blowing smoke” with her “bull***t response.”
The Western Environmental Law Center’s executive director Erik Schlenker-Goodrich tweeted, “Listening to @GovMLG at #POLITICOenergy attempt to explain (unpersuasively) why she vetoed sensible climate tax credits just confirms that her administration, after a promising 1st term, has no climate policy agenda in its 2nd term beyond a word salad.”
The proposed tax credits would be transferable and applicable to both new and used electric vehicles, aiming to make electric vehicles more accessible to middle- and low-income buyers. Governor Lujan Grisham emphasized that these credits should work at the point of sale, focusing on consumers to drive changes in the marketplace.
The proposed tax credits received support from legislative committee chairs Sen. Benny Shendo (D-Jemez Pueblo) and Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil (D-Albuquerque), who emphasized their importance in moving the state towards a lower-carbon future. However, Larry Behrens, the Western states director of the pro-energy group Power the Future, criticized the tax credits, arguing that they primarily benefit the rich.
Regarding the executive order, Governor Lujan Grisham declared that by 2035, the state government fleet would be 100% electric, encouraging the use of zero-emission vehicles, including battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles.
“In fiscal year 2022, state employees drove a whopping 16,650,964 miles in state vehicles, with only 36,077 of those being in the governor’s [electric vehicles] — less than one percent,” he wrote.
This electric vehicle initiative follows the governor’s plan announced in July, requiring vehicle manufacturers to provide an increasing number of electric models over the next decade. The Advanced Clean Cars and Advanced Trucks rule aims for at least 43% of all cars and 15% to 20% of all trucks sold in New Mexico to be electric models by 2026.
Larry Behrens criticized the governor’s push for electric vehicles, arguing that tax credits and spending on electric vehicles for state employees are attempts to force a product that New Mexicans don’t want.
Governor Lujan Grisham acknowledged the need for more electric vehicle infrastructure in New Mexico but noted that the state still ranks among the top six nationally. She cited a New York Times article recommending Northern New Mexico for electric vehicle tourism, particularly the high road to Taos.