Shift to EVs a commonsense policy for New Mexicans

Jul. 27—Raising children involves many lessons in decision-making. In my family, one of the best decisions we've made is reducing our carbon footprint. When we bought our home in Albuquerque nearly six years ago, we installed a solar energy system. We wanted our three children to understand the importance of making decisions that benefit both our family and our community. We soon realized that our system generated more energy than we used and wondered — how can we best use that electricity? Soon after, when my husband was involved in a traffic accident resulting in the total loss of his vehicle, we had our answer. We saw this scary event as an opportunity to take another step toward shrinking our carbon footprint and purchased a used Nissan Leaf, our first electric vehicle. Between the threats of wildfires and extreme heat, New Mexicans are no strangers to the impacts of climate change. This is especially true for Hispanic/Latino families like mine, who make up nearly half of this state's population and are especially vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution and heat. Transitioning to electric vehicles will help us tackle both the climate crisis and reduce air pollution. The transportation sector is the second-largest source of climate pollution in New Mexico, and our fossil fuel-powered cars, trucks, and buses spew harmful pollution into our air when they transport our goods cross-country, take our kids to school, or help us get to the supermarket. With the expansion of EVs, this can change. A recent survey shows that approximately 60% of Latinos believe it is important to shift to renewable energy and EVs; however, they don't see EVs being accessible yet. But the barriers to access are falling. I once thought buying a new Tesla was the only way to own an electric car, but that is simply not true. Today we have a wider variety of affordable EVs that reduce fuel costs for families. As time passes, supply and demand will increase, making EVs more economically accessible. The $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit made possible by the (federal) Inflation Reduction Act will also help make EVs a reality for families across New Mexico and nationwide. Although they may cost more upfront, the cost savings over their lifetime can be significant. When we've experienced rising gas prices, our electric car has been a great help. We have saved money by not paying for gas for five years, and we've saved on repair bills because EVs need considerably less maintenance than a conventional vehicle. My work with Moms Clean Air Force, and their Latino engagement program, EcoMadres, has afforded me the opportunity to use my voice for change and invite members of my community to see that change is achievable. With Gov. Lujan Grisham's commitment to the Advanced Clean Cars and Trucks standards, New Mexico families will have access to more affordable, zero-pollution cars. This move demonstrates a commitment to commonsense policies that will improve our health, protect our climate and save us money.