ABQ Journal op-ed: Latest EV mandate will drive up construction costs, drive down new housing supply

This is the CTA

Fresh off her “victory” in pushing a vast increase in the number of electric vehicles sold in New Mexico through a board appointed by her, on a 3-2 vote of a 7-member board, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is pushing yet another regulation to force EVs on an unwilling public.

The governor’s latest plan is to mandate EV charging stations and equipment for newly built apartment buildings and other commercial real estate.

The “good” news is that while news reports back in September reported that up to 20% of all parking spaces would have to be outfitted with EV charging stations costing $18,000 per unit, the “final” revised proposal limits required EV spaces to 5% of all spaces, with another 15% being so-called “EV capable.”

This rule is going to be voted on by the Construction Industries Division at their Jan. 3 meeting. The Rio Grande Foundation is again asking people to weigh in on this issue at our website. Messages will now be sent to the CID.

This is another way to force the rest of us to pay for the governor’s pro-EV policy. Simply making parking spots “EV capable” will add at least $1,650 per parking space. Considering that the city of Albuquerque and other New Mexico cities have very prescriptive — and significant — requirements for parking, this unfunded mandate will add millions of dollars to the cost of new developments.

The costs, as they always are, will be borne by residents and business owners — and not just those in new construction projects subject to the mandate. Prices will needlessly go up and supply — especially of new apartments which are covered under this regulation — will go down.

Considering that housing prices have skyrocketed all over and several New Mexico cities are facing a housing “crisis,” this mandate couldn’t come at a worse time.

Raising the cost of apartments is a classic “regressive” tax that unduly targets low-income New Mexicans. If EVs are truly the “vehicles of the future,” then the free market will respond to demand for EV charging stations from those who own the vehicles and wish to have charging stations available wherever they go. That’s how we got a nationwide network of gas stations, not through government mandates.

Sadly, Gov. Lujan Grisham believes very strongly in “command-and-control” policies found in socialist nations and the old Soviet Union. Freedom and free markets are not her approach and we’re all poorer because of it.

An in-person hearing will be held on this issue on Wednesday, Jan. 3, at the Regulation and Licensing Department at 5500 San Antonio Drive NE, Albuquerque, in the Sandia conference room starting at 9:30 a.m.

As mentioned, the Rio Grande Foundation is collecting and submitting comments at All written comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 2.

Getting the Construction Industries Division to stand up to the governor on another new regulation won’t be easy, but we need the record to clearly show that most New Mexicans oppose the governor’s latest attack on our freedoms.

Paul Gessing is president of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation, a research and educational organization dedicated to limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility.