By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4)– It’s official. Colorado is adopting California’s Zero Emission Vehicle Standard.

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That means in the next few years we should see nearly triple the number of electric cars at our dealerships and on our roads. The mandate requires 5% of car sales here to be electric by 2023.

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Colorado is already fourth in the country for electric vehicle sales.

“What it’s really going to mean is more choice for Colorado consumers and cleaner air for Colorado breathers,” said Will Toor, head of the Colorado Energy Office.

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He says by requiring manufacturers to sell more electric vehicles here, they’ll bring more models here.

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“It will encourage the car companies who are going to be rolling out a lot of crossover and SUV – both full electric and plug in hybrid electric vehicle models over the next few years – to bring those vehicles here,” said Toor.

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While the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate targets car manufacturers, that will have to sell more electric vehicles or pay a fine, the state is also targeting companies that use a lot of cars like Amazon, Zip Car and even Uber and Lyft that have begun buying their own fleets. They may soon have to buy electric or pay a fee.

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“These services tend to be driving longer miles and so if you can get those cars to electrify that can have a pretty significant impact,” said Sophie Schulman with CDOT.

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She says fees are one way to do that. A new law requires CDOT and the Energy Office to determine the impact the emerging companies are having on things like public transit and congestion and ways to mitigate it.

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Schulman says they haven’t determined what the fee structure might look like, “What shifts behavior? How many vehicles, I don’t know if that’s the question, or is it how many miles that vehicle travels?”

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Like the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, the fees would be imposed on companies not consumers, but Schulman says both are meant to impact how we get around and the air we breathe, “The goal is really to try to get companies to encourage more shared and electric rides.”

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The efforts could also help public transit. A study by CSU found up to 60% of people who use Uber and Lyft would otherwise walk, bike or bus to their destination.

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Uber and Lyft both released statements saying they are committed to working with policymakers. CDOT will issue its recommendations to the legislature by Nov. 1.

Shaun Boyd

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