• July 13th, 2024
  • Saturday, 12:57:45 AM

Transitioning to EVs Will Help Tackle Climate Crisis and Reduce Air Pollution


Ana Rios


Raising children involves many lessons on decision-making, and in my family, one of the best decisions we’ve made is reducing our carbon footprint. When my family and I 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 not only our family but also our community. We soon realized that our system generated more energy than we used and wondered–how can we best use that electricity? A few months later, 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 very 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 (EVs) 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.


I once thought buying a new Tesla was the only way to own an electric car, but that is simply not the case.


A recent survey shows that approximately 60% of Latinos believe it is important to shift to renewable energy and electric vehicles; 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 the case. Today, we have a wider variety of affordable electric vehicles that reduce fuel costs for families. As time passes, the supply and demand will increase, making EVs more economically accessible. The $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act will also help make EVs a reality for families across New Mexico and nationwide.


Although EVs may cost more up-front, the cost savings over their lifetime can be significant. During a time in which we’ve experienced rising gas prices, our little electric car has been a great help. Not only have we saved money by not paying for gas for five years, we’ve also 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 Governor Lujan Grisham’s adoption of 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 bring more zero-emission cars to New Mexico to improve our health, protect our climate and save us money.



Ana Rios is the New Mexico field organizer for  Moms Clean Air Force.  She has a history of volunteering for environmental justice organizations.