Latest News

Colorado’s Transformative Transportation Electrification Plan to Clear the Air and Cut Carbon Emissions

Colorado is moving ahead with a plan to get nearly 1 million electric vehicles on its roads by 2030 and, for the first time, has adopted a long-term goal of transitioning to 100 percent electric and zero-emission vehicles.

The state’s Energy Office recently released the Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan 2020, an update to the 2018 EV plan that established a target of 940,000 EVs by 2030. The new plan retains that target and lays out a vision for a “large-scale transition of Colorado’s transportation system to zero emission vehicles.” That vision includes electrifying all light-duty vehicles and making all medium and heavy-duty vehicles zero-emission (including electric, hydrogen and other zero emissions technologies).

“This plan is the first time Colorado has set a goal to transition all vehicles to clean, zero-pollution energy. That’s a big deal,” Travis Madsen, Transportation Program Director for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, told the Colorado Sun.

Transportation pollution is a big concern in Colorado. “As a stark reminder of just how big a polluter cars and trucks can be, Colorado meteorology supervisor Scott Landes said…that nitrogen dioxide levels in Denver had decreased nearly 28 percent during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order,” CPR News reported.

As noted in the 2020 EV Plan, transportation is projected to be the largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the state of Colorado by this year. Transitioning to 940,000 EVs by 2030 could result in an annual reduction of 3 million tons of GHG in the state. De-carbonizing the transportation sector is a key strategy for meeting Colorado’s targets of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 50% (below 2005 levels) by 2030 and 90% by 2050, targets that are outlined in a state climate action law passed last year.

Since the 2018 EV Plan was introduced, the state has taken steps towards increasing electric vehicle adoption. These steps include awarding a contract to ChargePoint for the build-out of EV fast-charging stations at 33 sites along Colorado’s major transportation corridors; state investment to install 351 EV chargers across the state; using the state’s Volkswagen diesel settlement funds to support charging infrastructure and purchase zero emission buses; adopting a zero emission vehicle (ZEV) standard in August 2019 that sets a minimum requirement zero-emission vehicle sales for automakers; and more than doubling the number of EVs registered in Colorado from 11,238 in August 2017 to over 24,000 in June 2019.

Colorado’s EV Plan 2020 seeks to build on this progress. Pillars of the new plan include undertaking a gap analysis to identify charging station needs across the state, developing a roadmap to full electrification of the light-duty vehicle fleet, and formulating plans for transitioning medium-duty, heavy-duty and transit vehicles to ZEVs.

“The EC applauds Governor Polis for committing to speed the shift to EVs with the Colorado Energy Office’s EV 2020 plan,” said Ben Prochazka, National Director of the Electrification Coalition, a nonprofit that advocates for electrifying transportation. “The plan establishes steps that will put nearly 1 million light-duty EVs on the road by 2030, prioritizes EVs for state fleets, and helps create a transition for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and transit buses – significantly reducing the economic, public health and national security impacts of our oil dependency and setting an example for other states to follow.”

Matt Frommer of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project also praised the state’s leadership in a recent blog post: “We’re glad to see the Governor’s office continue to demonstrate leadership on the state’s climate and clean energy goals, even while dealing with the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic.”

Main Image: Traffic along Interstate 70 in Colorado. Credit: CC by-nc 2.0,

Yet Another Study Confirms: Electric Cars Reduce Climate Pollution

Electric cars are better for the climate than gas-powered vehicles in nearly every part of the world. That’s the clear, unequivocal finding of the first study that conducted a global examination of the current and future greenhouse gas emissions of electric vehicles (EVs) and gas-powered cars. This study directly refutes myths perpetuated by climate science deniers and EV antagonists, who claim that EVs are really not all that green.

Continue reading “Yet Another Study Confirms: Electric Cars Reduce Climate Pollution”

Oil Industry Front Group Launches Latest Attack on Electric Vehicle Tax Credit in Senate Energy Bill

As this week the U.S. Senate tries to advance stalled bipartisan energy legislation, the American Energy Alliance (AEA) last week announced its latest initiative opposing any tax credit extension for electric vehicles (EV) in that bill.

Through a series of digital ads, the group, which receives a substantial share of its donations from an oil refinery trade group, is calling on Senate Republicans to squash a proposed amendment expanding the number of vehicles eligible for the credit.

That amendment, introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), would raise the per-manufacturer cap on electric vehicles eligible for tax credit from 200,000 to 600,000 and would extend a tax credit for fuel-cell vehicles through 2024, among other clean energy incentives.

Wyden proposed the amendment as a part of the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA), a package of around 50 bills aimed at spurring research and development for technologies like energy storage, carbon capture and storage, and advanced nuclear. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the AEIA legislative package on February 27.

In a March 3 statement announcing his amendment, Wyden referenced the uneven playing field between clean energy and fossil fuels — which continue to receive billions in government subsidies each year. “We’re facing a climate emergency, but Big Oil continues to be showered with tax breaks while incentives for clean energy are held up again and again. My amendment would help reduce carbon emissions, lower electricity bills for American families, and advance us down the path toward a clean energy future,” Wyden said.

He acknowledged his amendment would likely not pass muster in the Republican-controlled Senate. However, the American Energy Alliance immediately pushed back with digital ads and an accompanying press release on March 5.

“Some Senate Democrats are once again focused on expanding the EV tax credit despite its gross inequities,” AEA president Thomas Pyle said in the press release. “They are using the American Energy Innovation Act as a tool to enrich two auto companies, GM and Tesla, along with wealthy coastal elites, mainly from California and New York. It’s now time for all Senators, especially Republicans, to stand up for their constituents and stop this obvious handout. No amendments, no deals, and no extensions of the tax credit.”

AEA has consistently fought against the policy that offers a tax credit of up to $7,500 towards the purchase of qualifying electric vehicles — an incentive that helps offset the higher upfront cost of these vehicles and is especially beneficial for middle- and lower-income Americans.

The argument that mostly wealthy Americans buy EVs ignores this reality and the fact that a significant number of EVs are leased rather than purchased. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, nearly 80 percent of non-Tesla electric vehicles are leased. Leasing is generally a more affordable financing option, and the tax credit helps lower that cost even more.

But the AEA’s claim that electric vehicles are expensive “luxuries” for the rich has been picked up by some Republican lawmakers.

Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), for example, recently introduced a pair of bills aimed at eliminating the EV tax credit for higher-income families and limiting it for vehicles costing less than $45,000. According to a press release from Braun’s office, “The amendments will save taxpayers hundreds of millions in subsidies used by millionaires to buy luxury cars.” Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is joining Braun in sponsoring these bills. Both Braun and Ernst have benefited from oil and gas money. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the oil and gas industry has contributed $194,988 to Braun and $249,492 to Ernst for the 2020 campaign cycle.

The American Energy Alliance is also largely funded by the petroleum sector. According to the most recently available tax data, AEA receives more than three times as much grant money from the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, a trade group for oil refiners, than any other group. Additionally, AEA has received $3.8 million from Freedom Partners, a group directed by close associates of the Kochs, and AEA president Thomas Pyle is a former Koch Industries lobbyist.

The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers’ 2017 tax form disclosing that it donated $350,000 to the 501(c)(4) nonprofit, the American Energy Alliance. Credit: 990 form

The oil and gas industry uses groups like AEA to advocate for its interests, and the incumbent industry that fuels conventional vehicles would benefit from slowing the transition to electric vehicles. 

What promotional ads like AEA’s fail to mention is that electric vehicles threaten the billions of dollars the oil industry makes in profits, and that American taxpayers help subsidize this industry despite its many negative impacts on public health and the climate.

Main image:, used with permission

How the Koch Network Influences Minnesota’s Transportation Policy

In 1996, an executive vice president of Koch Industries named Richard Fink laid out a three-tiered integrated strategy for promoting libertarian ideals and free-market principles, and, in doing so, protecting the Kochs’ sprawling petrochemical refining and shipping businesses. Called “The Structure of Social Change,” Fink, who also led the Charles Koch Foundation, described the strategy for investing the Kochs’ fortunes through grants and financial support to organizations and individuals at different stages of policy development and implementation, from universities to think tanks to advocacy groups.

As the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency takes on clean car standards through rulemaking processes, the Koch network’s “structure of social change” is in place to push back against the policy. Below is a network map showing how Koch influence reaches through think tanks and advocacy groups to reach the public and policymakers on the ground in Minnesota.