Colo. helps revamp the auto industry

Environment Colorado

Denver – Today, Governor Bill Ritter signed into law legislation creating tax incentives to put more low-emission vehicles out on the road.

“It’s time to stop driving around the problem and put hybrids into high gear,” said Pam Kiely, legislative program director of Environment Colorado. “Creating tax incentives for high-tech vehicles will help put cleaner cars on the road and money into the pockets of Colorado businesses.” 

House Bill 1331, the Incentives for Efficient Motor Vehicles Bill, is sponsored by Rep. Sara Gagliardi (D-Arvada) and Sen. Betty Boyd (D-Lakewood) and would create tax incentives for high technology motor vehicles already available to car buyers such as zero emission and low emission vehicles as well as cars reaching upwards of 70 miles-per-gallon. The bill will also pave the way for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

“Ten years ago, we had one goal with this law: to reduce the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming air pollution.  But now the existing incentive is outdated.  Today, we are concerned not only about air pollution, but also about fuel economy and carbon footprint,” said Rep. Gagliardi.  “By recalculating the credit, we can foster new technologies and help bring important innovations to market sooner.”

As the nation’s automobile and auto dealers industry feel the effects of a down economy nationally and in Colorado, high-technology vehicles could help revitalize the industry while helping Colorado achieve its goals for cutting global warming pollution.

“The auto industry can play a part in a green recovery for Colorado,” said Tim Jackson, President of the Colorado Auto Dealers Association. “By supporting innovation and new energy technologies, we can offer new options to consumers and build excitement around our industry while also cutting global warming pollution.” 

The bill is supported by a diverse coalition such as the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, and Environment Colorado.

In a time of economic hardship Coloradoans will now be offered strong incentive to buy plug-in hybrid electric cars in Colorado.  Although the tax credit will put this vehicle within reach of many Coloradans, the fuel savings alone will pay for the increased cost over the life of the vehicle.

“Colorado is providing important leadership in helping drivers do their part in freeing our transport system from dependence on imported fuels, and making dramatic reductions in climate impacts,” said Bob Yhunke, transportation program director of South West Energy Efficiency Project. “And it is just as critical for our air quality and for cutting down our global warming pollution that we invest in cleaner, smarter, automobile technology.”

According to research by Environment Colorado, transportation accounts for 28 percent of the nation’s global warming pollution. Key to reaching the goals laid out in Governor Ritter’s Climate Action Plan is finding ways to cut global warming pollution from automobiles and creating transit and other transportation related solutions.