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GUEST COLUMN: Cars are here to stay – electric or otherwise | Opinion

Governor Jared Polis’ first-ever executive order set the bar high for electric vehicles, with the lofty goal of putting 940,000 electric vehicles on Colorado’s roads by 2030.

At the time, it was hard to imagine how Colorado would reach that mark.

Since then, however, there have been wave after wave of announcements from manufacturers bringing vehicles to market that meet the tastes and needs of Colorado consumers.

This includes pickup trucks and SUVs Coloradans love from legacy brands they trust.

These vehicles are not yet available in sufficient quantities to fully meet consumer demand, but we can now see a growing fleet of electric vehicles on the horizon.

Let’s face it: Due to supply chain issues, it hasn’t been easy to buy new cars of any technology and reservations for new EVs usually far outstrip supply. But this backlog is temporary, and the increased production will allow Colorado to win over Polis’ ambitious goal.

But there is a roadblock ahead.

A small but very vocal group of activists are unhappy with zero-emission electric vehicles. Their goal is to rid the world of cars, which they see as a problem to be solved.

These anti-car activists see cities like Paris, which will ban non-essential traffic, as a utopian ideal.

They don’t see Denver’s hollowed-out downtown — which has lost many office workers who supported its businesses — as an urgent challenge.

Instead, they see it as an opportunity to further restrict traffic, trying to turn Denver into a car-free Paris of the Rockies.

They celebrate when parking rates and fines rise and when car-only lanes are removed, creating bottlenecks that discourage drivers from returning to downtown.

We can have discussions about why cities in Western America, established by pioneers, evolved the way they did, as opposed to centuries-old European cities.

Or why public transit works better in densely populated cities on the East Coast, Asia and Europe.

Or why Coloradians love the freedom that comes with having their own vehicles they can use to follow their hearts – to the Great Plains or the mountains or wherever they choose, even if not along a public transport line or accessible on foot or by bike.

These conversations may be interesting, but they don’t change a fundamental truth: Most Colorado residents love their cars and everything they make possible.

The anti-car team knows they won’t get Coloradans out of their cars without putting in place physical and figurative barriers to driving, such as creating intentional congestion by reducing capacity or increasing the cost of driving.

As an avid cyclist, I understand and we should all support the right of Coloradans to walk and cycle safely.

Distracted, impaired and/or aggressive driving is never acceptable and should be met with severe penalties.

Cycling is ideal for hardy souls who are ready to tackle harsh weather conditions all year round, but it is not suitable for most people who have to commute to work, school or play sports for young people. .

For those who depend on public transit, we should make it as safe and convenient as possible.

But RTD is in a downward cycle which – absent billion-dollar subsidies that will never be approved by understandably skeptical voters – will never make a significant dent in car use.

People who work in construction, landscaping, or the energy industry know they can’t carry tools and supplies or get to the job site by bus, bike, or train.

Having a reliable car is vital for working families. These days, the most affordable housing is usually far from light rail stations and trendy neighborhoods where residents can stroll to shops.

Cars are here to stay, so let’s not penalize those who choose to use them. Instead, let’s embrace new low-emission technologies like electric vehicles in pursuit of Governor Polis’ ambitious goal.

Tim Jackson is president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, drives 3,000 to 4,000 miles a year, but understands the essential nature of motor vehicles in the growth of the American economy. Follow him on Twitter at @timwjackson.

Tim Jackson is president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, drives 3,000 to 4,000 miles a year, but understands the essential nature of motor vehicles in the growth of the American economy. Follow him on Twitter at @timwjackson.