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Posts in Category: Transportation

Colorado updates transportation plans to comply with new climate rules

Colorado updates transportation plans to comply with new climate rules
Last month, Colorado’s transportation planning agencies officially updated their plans and project lists to meet the Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT) new greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets. The new plans spend significantly less money on highway expansions and redirect billions of dollars toward multimodal projects like transit, biking, and walking infrastructure to make these low-carbon transportation options more convenient, safe, and affordable for Coloradans. By giving... More
 

2022 Southwest legislative sessions wrap-up

Notable energy efficiency and clean transportation successes prevail in challenging landscape
2022 Southwest legislative sessions wrap-up
Now that the Southwest state legislatures have adjourned, it’s time to recap our progress and look to opportunities in 2023. Despite challenges posed by the lingering COVID pandemic and growing inflation, we’re proud to report numerous significant wins achieved in legislative chambers led by both Republicans and Democrats across the region. Here are some of the key legislative gains in efficiency and clean transportation from around the Southwest in 2022: Colorado had another banner... More
 

Electrifying oil and gas production: A cleaner way

Electrifying oil and gas production: A cleaner way
When we burn gas to keep our homes warm and heat our hot water, or burn gasoline to power our cars, most of us don’t think about how these fuels are produced or the additional emissions involved in the “upstream” oil and gas production. But the upstream carbon pollutant emissions are significant, and there are ways to reduce and minimize them. Colorado and New Mexico are two of the leading states in oil and gas production, and carbon emissions from oil and gas production accounts for more... More
 

Statement by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project on West Virginia v. EPA

Statement by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project on West Virginia v. EPA
We at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) join the loud chorus of voices across the country opposing the United States Supreme Court’s June 30th decision in the West Virginia v. EPA climate case as both illogical and ill-advised. The high court chose to hamstring the Biden Administration’s efforts to meet our climate goals. The majority turned its back on the wishes of the American people, the overwhelming majority of whom support more aggressive national action to reduce... More
 

Smart land use: The untapped climate policy

Smart land use: The untapped climate policy
Fly into Denver International Airport (DIA) in the daylight and you can look down on acres of open land being groomed for sprawling single-family development. In 2021, over ¾ of lots under development in the Denver region were in Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties, mostly single-detached homes built on undeveloped land far from jobs, shopping, and other destinations. This type of low-density, auto-centric growth is incompatible with Colorado’s air quality and climate goals, and will only... More
 

SWEEP staff reflects on policy wins in 2021, gives hope for 2022

SWEEP staff reflects on policy wins in 2021, gives hope for 2022
With 2021 fading into the history books and a new year almost upon us, we thought it’d be the perfect time to check in with some of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project’s (SWEEP) energy efficiency experts to find out about a top policy win they’re particularly proud of from this past year, as well as a New Year’s resolution for 2022. On the heels of all that we’ve accomplished and celebrated over the past two decades, we are hopeful and looking forward to adding to those achievements. Happy... More
 

Arizona and the Build Back Better Act: An urgent call for support

Arizona and the Build Back Better Act: An urgent call for support
These are challenging times for Arizona. Record drought has caused another horrendous wildfire season and another summer of scorching temperatures and record heatwaves from Phoenix to Tucson. It’s also triggered the unprecedented decision to cut back Arizona’s share of water from the Colorado River, which will significantly impact our state’s hard-working farmers. In addition, intense heat exacerbates air quality problems, resulting in dozens of ozone alerts this summer and signaling unhealthy... More
 

A breakdown of Colorado’s giant transportation funding bill

Senate Bill 260 is a big win for electric vehicles, a mixed bag for climate
A breakdown of Colorado’s giant transportation funding bill
This week, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 260 (SB260) into law, marking the passage of the most comprehensive transportation funding package in decades. The legislation will raise $5.4 billion over the next 10 years through a combination of general fund transfers and new fees on gasoline, diesel, electric vehicles (EVs), residential deliveries, and rideshare trips to repair and expand our decaying transportation system and clean up its air pollution. While not perfect, the ... More
 

Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan Paves the Way toward 100 Percent Clean Vehicles

Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan Paves the Way toward 100 Percent Clean Vehicles
On April 23, the Colorado Energy Office unveiled the new and improved Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan, a guiding document that sets forth the State’s ambitious EV targets and outlines the programs, policies, and strategies required to transition the transportation sector to clean, zero-emission vehicles. Transportation is a leading source of climate-changing pollution in Colorado and vehicles are also a major source of soot and smog pollution that harm public health (and increase the risks... More
 

New Mexico Legislative Session Ends with a Thud

Despite Governor's Support EV Bills Fall Short
New Mexico Legislative Session Ends with a Thud
SWEEP is disappointed in the 2020 NM State Legislature’s failure to pass two vital pieces of energy efficiency and clean transportation legislation. Despite full support of the Governor, many lawmakers and low-income advocates, the legislature did not pass either SB114, the Community Energy Efficiency Development (CEED) block grant or SB2/HB217 the Electric Vehicle Income Tax Credit. Despite the ultimate failure of these bills, we would like to thank our very strong and supportive sponsors.... More
 

Electric Vehicles Go Mainstream with Super Bowls Ads

Four big automakers spend millions to showcase their new models
Electric Vehicles Go Mainstream with Super Bowls Ads
Super Bowl commercials are famous for creating awareness and buzz about the latest consumer products and services. In fact, the intrigue involving the commercials has become nearly as important as the game itself. So it's significant that four major automakers spent big bucks to signal to consumers that a variety of electric vehicles have arrived in the U.S. marketplace. Audi, Ford, GM, and Porsche spent an average of $5.6 million per 30-second ad to showcase their new models to the 197... More
 

New Xcel Energy Rate Could Speed RTD's Purchase of Electric Buses

New Xcel Energy Rate Could Speed RTD
Note: A previous edition of this blog used inaccurate data from other sources to calculate the projected fuel cost savings under the new Xcel Commercial EV rate. It has been updated. The electric bus market is booming. As of September, more than 200 transit agencies nationwide had purchased more than 2,000 electric buses. Colorado’s Regional Transit District (RTD) has one of the largest electric bus fleets in the country with 36 all-electric MallRide buses traveling up and down the 16th... More
 

Top Ten Energy Efficiency Stories from the Southwest in 2019

Top Ten Energy Efficiency Stories from the Southwest in 2019
In 2019, SWEEP and its allies were instrumental in securing approval of numerous new policies that will advance energy efficiency and vehicle electrification in the Southwest. Here is my list of the Top Ten success stories of 2019, in no particular order regarding importance. Colorado Governor Issues EV Executive Order On January 17th, newly elected Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued and Executive Order supporting vehicle electrification in the state. Among its directives, it... More
 

Arizona Poised to Accelerate Electric Vehicle Adoption

Arizona Poised to Accelerate Electric Vehicle Adoption
Conversations centered on transportation electrification continue to pick up steam across the Southwest. This is especially true in Arizona since the Arizona Corporation Commission approved two electric vehicle policies in January 2019 and July 2019. Heightened interest in transportation electrification policies is one reason why SWEEP, Plug In America, and Arizona State University’s Energy Policy Innovation Council, recently organized the first annual Arizona Transportation Electrification... More
 

Electric Trucks and Forklifts – Funding Options in Colorado

by Neil Kolwey and Matt Frommer
Electric Trucks and Forklifts – Funding Options in Colorado
Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more popular by the day as the technology rapidly matures. The potential benefits over conventional gas-powered vehicles are numerous - they reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, reduce fuel costs, are easy to maintain, fun to drive, and are quickly becoming cost-competitive with traditional vehicles. For these reasons, many companies and local governments are quickly adding electric vehicles to their fleets. But what about... More
 

Nevada Forum Sparks Action on Transportation Electrification Future in the West

Nevada Forum Sparks Action on Transportation Electrification Future in the West
“There’s tremendous activity in the marketplace already in Nevada,” Bobzien said in a brief interview at the forum “Certainly, we are well known for the companies that are here that in this space, we have tremendous working relationships with surrounding states in the Western region to advance the electrification of our highways, and I think the next five years, in particular, are going to be very exciting.” ​State Senator Chris Brooks also provided his thoughts on the electric vehicles and... More
 

Advancing Vehicle Fuel Efficiency and Emissions Reductions in the Southwest

Electrification has emerged as key climate strategy for the transportation sector
Advancing Vehicle Fuel Efficiency and Emissions Reductions in the Southwest
In November, 2018, Colorado joined 12 other states and the District of Columbia in adopting the California Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) standards. The standards require the average real-world fuel economy of new vehicles to reach 36 mpg by 2025. Currently, the California LEV standards are identical to federal standards, but the Trump Administration is attempting to rollback the federal fuel efficiency standards and freeze the requirements in 2020, which will increase both pollution and fuel costs ... More
 

Cracking the Code on EV-Ready Building Codes

Among best ways for cities, states to encourage consumers to switch to electric cars
Cracking the Code on EV-Ready Building Codes
Imagine that you just bought a new condo and, since you care about saving the planet while saving yourself money, you’re also thinking about buying a new electric vehicle (EV). You check your new parking lot for an electrical outlet, only to find that there isn’t one. With persistence, you ask the property owner about installing an EV charging station in the parking lot for communal use, but after reviewing the building plans together, you discover that the property does not have the electrical ... More
 

Autonomous Vehicle Policy: Taking the wheel on driverless cars

Will it be "heaven" or "hell" for traffic congestion?
Autonomous Vehicle Policy: Taking the wheel on driverless cars
Just about every day I open the paper and read about some new technological or business development regarding driverless cars. Most of these stories come with breathless anticipation of all of the great things that autonomous vehicles will bring: fewer crashes, less congestion, more access for people who can’t drive. In some authors’ telling, personal car ownership will quickly become a thing of the past, replaced by electric “robo” taxis called up on a moment’s notice, paving the way for a... More
 

SWEEP Endorses Sales Tax Increase for Colorado’s Transportation Needs

Only one ballot measure can untangle CO's transportation mess
SWEEP Endorses Sales Tax Increase for Colorado’s Transportation Needs
Coloradans can help untangle their transportation woes by supporting a ballot measure, currently called Initiative 153, but they shouldn’t be fooled by a go-nowhere alternative that does nothing to solve the complex problem. SWEEP endorses one measure that appears to have made the ballot. On August 6, organizers from Let’s Go Colorado delivered 198,000 signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State for Initiative 153, which will let voters decide whether to raise the sales tax rate by 0.62... More
 

Group Buy Programs Boost Electric Car Sales

Offers key opportunities for regional collaboration on clean transportation
Group Buy Programs Boost Electric Car Sales
Widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption faces several challenges, including lack of consumer awareness, limited EV inventory, insufficient sales training, and the high price of new electric cars. EV group buy programs address these obstacles by bringing together local governments, nonprofits, electric utilities, auto dealerships, and auto manufacturers to boost EV sales through a combination of community engagement and EV purchasing incentives. What are EV group buy programs? EV group... More
 

To Untangle Its Traffic Mess, Colorado Can't Just Build More Lanes

Public transit, local needs, and biking and walking infrastructure crucial
To Untangle Its Traffic Mess, Colorado Can
The last time that Colorado raised the gas tax was in 1991, when a gallon of regular gasoline cost just over a buck. Since then, the gas tax rate has stayed flat at 18 cents per gallon, while the price of gas has more than doubled and inflation has cut the buying power of a dollar in half. The economic squeeze play over the past 25 years has left Colorado without enough money to maintain roads and bridges, invest in public transit, or create walk-able, bike-able communities. Against this... More
 

Weaker Clean Car Rules Threaten Southwest’s Air, Public Health

Consumers wallets will be hit, too
Weaker Clean Car Rules Threaten Southwest’s Air, Public Health
The national clean car standards, which limit tailpipe emissions from cars, represent one of the biggest steps the federal government ever has taken to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The Obama administration adopted the clean air rules in 2012, when automakers agreed to a set of standards requiring them to gradually reduce pollution and improve fuel economy. Under this plan, by 2025 the average car would have about double the fuel economy and emit only about half the carbon... More
 

Electric Car Tax Credits Help All Coloradans Breath Easier

Electric Car Tax Credits Help All Coloradans Breath Easier
The Colorado House of Representatives will soon will vote on Senate Bill 47, a bill to repeal the tax credits given to Coloradans who purchase electric cars and trucks. This bill is a bad idea; it ignores where our state is heading and seeks to hold us back from the future. Electric vehicles (EVs) bring tremendous benefits to Colorado – and not just for those of us who drive them. EVs improve our air quality. Vehicles are one of the two largest sources of air pollution, and a majority of... More
 

Colorado Adopts Ambitious Electric Vehicle Targets

Goal: Nearly 1 million EVs registered in the state by 2030
Colorado Adopts Ambitious Electric Vehicle Targets
The state of Colorado has just released a bold new electric vehicle plan that builds on the state’s work to date and shows the way to an electrified future. The plan (developed by the Colorado Energy Office, the Regional Air Quality Council, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Colorado Department of Transportation), was spurred by Governor Hickenlooper’s Executive Order from July of 2017, “Supporting Colorado’s Clean Energy Transition.” The plan lays out... More
 
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