Lawmakers push incentives for electric vehicles

A public electric vehicle fast charging station in Albuquerque limits use to 30 minutes. Image by Marjorie Childress. Legislators are continuing their drive to encourage more New Mexicans to buy low-  and zero-emissions vehicles as part of a larger strategy to rely less on fossil fuels, while ensuring that drivers who use little or no gas still chip in to maintain the state’s highways. 

House Bill 217 would let buyers of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles take $2,500 or $5,000 off their state taxes depending on their income. It would also give them another $300 tax credit toward a home car charging station and impose a $20 to $50 annual registration fee that would go to the state road fund. New Mexicans pay 17 cents per gallon of gas into the road fund. 

Versions of these proposed incentives have been introduced four times in recent years without success.

Climate change means uncertain future for New Mexico chile farmers

This year’s chile season is in full swing, but it is getting mixed reviews from farmers in southern New Mexico. Maria Martinez sells her family’s produce from Anthony and Brazito on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Farmers and Crafts Market in Las Cruces. Her booth stands out with red chile ristras strung up around the sides and sacks of chile piled next to them. Fresh green chile fill baskets at her booth and a continuous stream of customers approach her during the market, searching for their chile fix. She said it’s been a struggle this year because of insufficient water. 

“It’s been kind of hard because they don’t give them much water,” Martinez said of the local irrigation district. 

Dino Cervantes, of Cervantes Enterprises Inc. and a board member of the New Mexico Chile Association, grows cayenne peppers and jalapeños in Vado.