January 18, 2019 2:45 PM, EST

Colorado Joining California in Mandating Electric-Vehicle Sales

Tesla sales lot in ChicagoA Tesla sales lot in Chicago. Colorado joins California in mandating that automakers sell more electric cars in the Rocky Mountain state. (Teresa Crawford/Associated Press)

Colorado moved to boost electric-car sales by taking the first step toward adopting a zero-emission-vehicle mandate patterned after one in California that’s under threat from the Trump administration.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order directing Colorado environmental officials to propose the zero-emission-vehicle rule by no later than May 2019 to the state’s Air Quality Control Commission.

The mandate would make Colorado the 10th state to join California’s electric-car posse that’s enacted rules requiring automakers to sell more electric cars each year. California regulators estimate the program will lead to pure-electric and plug-in hybrid cars accounting for 8% of auto sales in the state by 2025.

“As we continue to move towards a cleaner electric grid, the public health and environmental benefits of widespread transportation electrification will only increase,” Polis said in a statement.

The nine other predominantly Democratic-leaning states include New York, Massachusetts and Oregon. They have established similar electric-car requirements by using a provision of the U.S. Clean Air Act that allows states to adopt rules California developed, which Polis’ executive order cited. The act gives California the authority to set rules more stringent than federal standards.

This group and other states are positioning themselves as a bulwark against the Trump administration’s push to ease cleaner-vehicle rules. Federal regulators have proposed capping national fuel-economy and carbon-emissions requirements for new autos at a 37 mile-per-gallon fleet average after 2020. Standards set by the Obama administration would’ve increased the average to 47 mpg by 2025.

As part of the plan, the Trump administration also proposed stripping California of its zero-emission-vehicle mandate.

Polis also directed state officials to reallocate some of the almost $70 million earmarked to the state from Volkswagen AG’s emissions-cheating settlement to support additional electrified transit buses, school buses and trucks, according to the order.