Clean Cars a clear win for Colorado

Media Releases

Environment Colorado

Denver – Adopting the Clean Cars Program would reduce air pollution from automobiles, save Coloradans money at the pump, and cut global warming pollution, this according to a new report by Environment Colorado entitled The Clean Cars Program: How States are Driving Cuts in Global Warming Pollution.

“The Clean Cars Program will mean cleaner air for Colorado. Governor Ritter asked every Coloradan join with him in combating global warming; giving drivers the choice of buying cleaner, less polluting vehicles would be an important step in helping meet the goals that the governor set,” said Keith Hay, energy advocate for Environment Colorado.

The Clean Cars Program has already been adopted in more than a dozen states. New cars sold in those states will be required to reduce their smog-forming and global warming pollution. Within seven years of instituting the program, new cars will emit on average of 34% less global warming pollution. SUVs and light-trucks will emit an average of 25% less global warming pollution.

The major findings of the report include:

  • The Clean Cars Program would cut global warming pollution by 11 million metric tons between 2009 and 2020, or the equivalent to taking over 2 million of today’s cars off the road for an entire year.
  • Buyers of new cars, trucks, and SUVs will save over $600 million annually at the pump by 2020 and over $3 billion total between 2009 and 2020.
  • Gasoline consumption could be cut by as much as 200 million gallons annually by 2020. 

In announcing his climate plant, Gov. Ritter indicated that Colorado could be joining at least twelve other states that have already adopted the program and that clean cars could play a significant role in meeting the goal of cutting emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

“Governor Ritter has demonstrated strong leadership in moving Colorado toward a New Energy Economy,” said Hay. “Adopting the Clean Cars Program shows the same bold leadership in addressing global warming, which Coloradans have said they want.”

Scientists say the West is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, from decreasing snowpack and more unstable water supplies, to more intense droughts and heat waves. As a result, a wide range of economic interests has expressed concerns over global warming, and they understand that cleaning up Colorado vehicles is an important step in protecting the climate. 

“With hotter, drier summers and less water available from snow pack, global warming is having a direct impact on the livelihood of Colorado farmers and ranchers.” said Leland Swenson, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. “The Clean Cars Program is a step towards protecting Colorado’s rural agricultural economy in the absence of federal action regarding climate change.

“Colorado farmers are also facing tough challenges staying in business with higher and higher energy costs. The fuel savings from the Clean Cars program is a step toward addressing high energy costs and gaining energy independence,” continued Swenson. 

Similarly, outdoor recreation businesses have expressed serious concern over the effects of global warming on their industry. The Colorado ski industry accounts for $2.6 billion in annual spending in Colorado.

“The Colorado ski industry plays an important role among the many sectors of the economy trying to adapt to climate change,” said Rob Perlman, President & CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA. “The Clean Cars Program is a strong link connecting the automotive industry, the sustainability efforts of our 26 member resorts, and actions Coloradoans and visitors alike can do to help ensure Colorado continues to receive the consistent snowfall that skiers and riders expect.”

Counter to auto industry arguments, the Clean Cars Program will improve market choices for consumers and save vehicle owners money in the long run.

“Vehicle owners in Colorado will realize net savings of over $2 billion if the Clean Cars Program is adopted,” said Howard Geller, Executive Director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “This savings applies to new vehicles purchased through 2015. Even greater savings will result from vehicles purchased after 2015.”

Transportation accounts for nearly a third of Colorado’s carbon emissions, and with the state’s population growing and people driving longer distances, the global warming pollution can only be expected to get worse. The Clean Cars Program would cut these emissions.

According to a summer 2007 poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, a national Republican polling firm, 77 percent of Colorado voters favor cutting global warming pollution one-third below current emissions by the year 2020.

The Clean Cars Program is supported by the Colorado Climate Action Network, which includes Environment Colorado, Environmental Defense, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, Western Resource Advocates, Colorado Environmental Coalition, and others.

A full copy of the report can be found at:

Additional Contacts

Environmental/conservation organizations

Dan Grossman, Environmental Defense
(303) 440-4901

Roger Singer, Sierra Club
(303) 449-5595 ext. 103

John Nielsen, Western Resource Advocates
(303) 444.1188

Outdoor recreation

David Dittloff, National Wildlife Federation
(303) 619-7106

Rob Perlman, Colorado Ski Country USA
(303) 837-0793

Consumer/energy efficiency organizations

Kirpal Singh, CoPIRG
(303) 573-7474 ext. 302

Howard Gellar, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project
(303) 447-0078 ext. 1

Ag/rural communities

Benjamin Waters, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
(303) 283-3549