The Colorado Automobile Dealers Association has sued the state Air Quality Control Commission for its November decision to adopt California's low-emission vehicle standards.
In a filing Monday with the state district court in Denver, the dealer group charges the agency with making a capricious decision in violation of Colorado's Administrative Procedures Act.
CADA has criticized the decision as rubber stamping California's regulations and interfering in the free market.
"The Commission seemed to have made its mind up before this rulemaking process even started, rapidly pushing through this complex rule that will cost our state and citizens billions of dollars without taking the necessary time to fully evaluate its impacts. Unfortunately, it is Colorado's consumers who will ultimately pay the price for this misguided decision," CADA President Tim Jackson said in a statement Tuesday.
In June, then-Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, ordered Colorado air-quality officials to issue a rulemaking that follows California clean car standards. The new rule is scheduled to kick in with the 2022 model year. State officials say it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 2 million tons per year by 2030.
California has authority under the 1970 Clean Air Act to establish air quality rules that are more stringent than those of the federal government, and 13 states, along with the District of Columbia, have signed onto those standards.
California agreed in 2010 to align with aggressive standards developed by the Obama administration designed to roughly double fuel efficiency by 2025. The Trump administration has proposed rolling back the standards to the 2020 level and revoking California's independent standard-setting authority for vehicle emissions. A final rulemaking is expected by midyear at the latest and will be challenged in court by many states if the original plan is maintained.
CADA's suit charges the Air Quality Control Commission unlawfully rushed its decision without first conducting required studies on emission controls and an economic impact analysis.
CADA claims the new regulation will add $2,110 to the sticker price of the average new vehicle in Colorado -- and more for SUVs and trucks.
"This is hard-earned cash that most Coloradans will not recover and will have the biggest negative impact on working families and the economically disadvantaged," Jackson said.
"Rather than trust the citizens of our state to choose the vehicles they need and want to drive safely in Colorado's unique conditions, the Commission has concluded that California's regulators, not Coloradans, should decide what vehicles must be bought and sold in our state."
This month, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, ordered state agencies to prepare a California-style rule that implements quotas on automakers for the sale of zero-emission vehicles.