The Potluck

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency moves ahead with clean car emission standards

By: - December 18, 2020 12:42 pm

A Tesla electric car charges at a public charging station in Germany. Electric cars are growing in consumer acceptance and popularity. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Minnesota is moving ahead with new proposed clean car standards, which will apply to new vehicles starting with model year 2025, pending approval from an administrative law judge. 

The proposed rule would adopt new emission standards used in more than a dozen other states, including California. The standard will only apply to cars, sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks, and does not apply to off-road vehicles, farming equipment, used vehicles or heavy-duty vehicles. It also would require more carmakers to deliver more battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid models for sale in Minnesota, increasing each year. 

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) intends to publish notification of the new rule on Monday, with a two-day hearing scheduled starting on Feb. 22. 

California and other states fought to maintain clean car standards after the Trump administration moved to roll back existing emission standards for new cars. 

“Minnesotans expect action to address our current climate crisis. That’s why the MPCA is using every available tool to address greenhouse gas emissions, including clean car standards that reduce emissions and increase electric vehicle options,” said Laura Bishop, MPCA commissioner. 

State Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, criticized the decision, saying it would likely raise the cost of vehicles. “The Walz administration is making cars more expensive and forcing auto dealers to accept cars and take up inventory with vehicles that many rural Minnesotans simply aren’t buying,” he said. Electric vehicles currently make up a small percentage of cars sold in the state, he noted. 

Supporters of the clean car standard praised the move, however.

“It is no secret that we are behind on our carbon reduction goals, as set by the bipartisan Next Generation Energy Act,” said Michael Nobel, executive director of Fresh Energy, in a statement. “Tried-and-true policies like clean car standards will get us back on track by reducing climate change-causing pollution, while also improving our public health and ensuring Minnesotans have the clean car choices they want.”

Paul Austin, executive director of Conservation Minnesota, said the new rule “is an important step to address the number one source of climate change-causing pollution in our state and ensure future generations are able to experience Minnesota’s great outdoors the same way we have.”

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Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.

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