In September of 2019, New Mexico — one of the most reliably blue parts of the desert southwest — announced it was setting some pretty ambitious goals for new vehicles sold in the state.
“[Gov. Michelle] Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, said new state restrictions on vehicle emissions will start with model-year 2022 vehicles, and that New Mexico fuel economy standards will increase to an average of 52 mpg by 2025,” The Associated Press, via Las Cruces Sun-News, reported at the time, just as the Trump administration was rolling back Environmental Protection Agency emissions and efficiency standards.
“She criticized the rollback of federal fuel economy standards by the federal government as counterproductive,” the outlet reported.
“While President Trump threatens to rob New Mexico and indeed all states of a valuable tool for combating air pollution and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, New Mexico will stand up and deliver on our commitment to environmental leadership,” Grisham said in a statement.
According to Environmental Protection Agency data, the estimated fuel economy in 2020 was 25.7 miles per gallon. In short, Grisham expected fuel economy to double in five years, at least for vehicles sold in New Mexico.
Don’t expect the governor to do her part, however. If anything, she’s dragging the average down pretty significantly.
While she wants fuel economy in the state to double in the next five years, she’s currently using a vehicle that gets miles per gallon at a little more than half of what she wants from other vehicles in the state.
According to The Federalist, gas logs released from an Inspection of Public Records Act request filed by the publication and nonprofit group Power the Future found that the average fuel economy between July 2020 and June 2021 for Grisham’s vehicle was 12.65 mpg — gas-guzzler territory.
Yet, in 2019, she sounded particularly gung-ho about making sure that vehicles sold in New Mexico met those standards.
“To combat climate change, to keep New Mexico’s citizens safe, to protect the air we all breathe, it’s essential we adopt more stringent clean car standards that increase fuel economy and reduce emissions,” Grisham said in a September 2019 statement.
“New Mexico will stand up and deliver on our commitment to environmental leadership.”
And when the Biden administration announced an ambitious (read: unreachable) goal for half of the new cars on the market in 2030 to be electric, Grisham tooted her own horn on Twitter.
I commend the Biden Administration for the forward-thinking action taken today. New Mexico is on board, with a path toward creating jobs, building up electric vehicle infrastructure, and ensuring long-lasting environmental stewardship and better public health outcomes.
— Michelle Lujan Grisham (@GovMLG) August 5, 2021
“Grisham’s office did not respond to The Federalist’s repeated requests for comment,” the outlet noted.
“While not as bad as John Kerry’s private jet, Governor Lujan Grisham’s actions surely deserve an Honorable Mention for the most green hypocrisy in the country,” said Larry Behrens, western states’ director for Power the Future.
“Make no mistake, her eco-left allies will stay quiet about her gas-guzzling ways because they care more about political power than being honest.”
In an October Op-Ed for the Las Cruces Sun-News, Paul Gessing — president of the Rio Grande Foundation, which describes itself as “an independent, nonpartisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility” — said it was “time for an update on” the mandate.
“As we noted at the time, Gov. Lujan Grisham had ‘out California-ed California’ by adopting even more stringent fuel economy standards than those on the books in California,” Gessing wrote.
He said the mandate was “was put forth at a time of a record (oil-driven) economic boom in New Mexico. That boom has evaporated thanks to COVID-19 and the governor’s lockdown of the state’s economy. She may not be as enthusiastic about such radical plans at a time of serious economic challenges.”
“And just to be clear, if the governor completely backed away from her plan, we would be more than happy to support such a move,” he continued.
“The number of automobiles on the market right now that achieve such a standard is limited to about a dozen or so hybrid models. Considering that ‘light trucks’ now account for 69 percent of the new car market, getting to that 52 MPG average is going to require” changes in purchasing patterns among New Mexicans, huge taxpayer subsidies and/or state residents purchasing their cars in neighboring states.
“As much as our governor desperately wants to virtue signal to radical environmental groups who so strongly support her, attaining 52 MPG is simply not realistic by 2022,” Gessing noted, adding that “unless [now-President Joe] Biden wins the White House and picks her for a position in his administration, she will have to make some hard decisions about whether to comply with this mandate (or not).”
Gessing underestimated her ability to avoid consequences for this decision, at least for now. Grisham may not be in the administration, but she’s not making hard decisions, either — not for the state, and definitely not for herself.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.