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The socialization of Colorado’s auto market

The socialization of Colorado’s auto market

With the swipe of their pens, Governor John Hickenlooper started, and Governor Jared Polis is completing what is essentially the socialization of Colorado’s automobile market.

Through two executive orders, the Governors have directed the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) to follow California’s emissions standard that includes mandating the sale of zero emission vehicles(ZEVs), a.k.a. electric vehicles (EVs) in Colorado:

The Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) is exploring approaches to a proposed rule that would impose sales quotes on vehicle manufacturers, thus increasing the percentage of zero emission vehicles in Colorado.

Two Democrat governors along with unelected regulators at CDPHE and APCD think it is acceptable public policy to seize control of Colorado’s auto market and to dictate to auto manufacturers, auto dealers, and auto buyers that they must make, sell, and buy electric vehicles. Just like California.

With the exception of Senator John Cooke’s* bill  prohibiting Colorado from surrendering its regulatory sovereignty to California, there will be no legislative deliberation. For ZEVs, there won’t even be a series of public hearings. The reason why would be funny if it weren’t so economically tragic.

[Governor Hickenlooper’s July 2018] executive order did not direct CDPHE to propose a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program, or to mandate the sale of electric vehicles. There was extensive public comment, however, in support of Zero Emission Vehicles at the AQCC meeting on August 16, 2018.

Apparently “extensive public comment” (likely from activists) is now a replacement for voter input, legislative deliberation, and millions of market decisions regarding vehicles.

My colleague Brit Naas recently wrote, “71 of every 100 vehicles sold in Colorado are trucks. For reasons unique to each buyer, consumers living in Colorado simply do not want to purchase low or zero emissions vehicles.” Consumers be damned.

The goal for Colorado is 940,000 by 2030. Even with ridiculously generous taxpayer-funded tax credits, in 2017, only 2,709 EVs were sold in Colorado bringing the total EVs registered in the state to just over 11,000. Under California-like mandates, dealers would have to sell 28 times more than the 2017 annual sales figure, over 75,000 collectively per year to avoid having to purchase vehicle credits or pay fines.

Whether or not you want an EV, whether or not you buy an EV, if you are a Colorado car buyer, you will pay for an EV. Want a traditional truck? You’ll pay for the truck and at least part of an EV that will go to someone else.

Coloradans would be wise to look for their next vehicle in another state…unless we stop this madness via the Colorado Auto Dealers Association lawsuit or we start marching on CDPHE. We probably should do both.

Editor’s note: John Cooke is the husband of author Amy Oliver Cooke.

Amy Cooke