Minnesota: Clean Car Rules

Minnesota is about to become the first state in the Midwest to adopt clean car standards. Like the standards used on the West Coast and East Coast, these standards are stricter than those implemented by the federal government.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, after a long standoff in the Minnesota legislature threatening to close Minnesota’s parks before the weekend holiday, Senate Republicans gave up asking the state’s Democratic Governor Tim Waltz to give up the requirements of the new clean vehicle emission standards.

According to the newspaper, the environmental bill containing the proposed emission standards also includes funding for areas such as the Minnesota Pollution Control Bureau, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Minnesota Zoo.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka told reporters that he does not like the clean car rules, which require automakers to provide more electric cars for sale in Minnesota. He believes that these rules should become an issue when they are implemented in 2024 and Waltz faces re-election.

Fourteen other states adopt similar rules
So far, 14 states and the District of Columbia have adopted LEV standards, and 12 states have adopted both LEV and ZEV standards. Colorado is the most recent state to adopt these two standards. As of December 2020, New Mexico and Nevada are also seeking to adopt the same standards.

Many automakers have joined in supporting these states. In early 2020, several automakers agreed to compromise standards with California, and California engaged in a court battle with the Trump administration to retain its ability to set its own fuel economy and emission standards.

Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW and Volvo signed the agreement, which is not as strict as the country originally proposed. After Joe Biden won the election, several other automakers shifted support to California, including General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and others.

However, Minnesota will be the first Midwest state to choose stricter standards.

Optimistic about the final result
Minnesota Pollution Control Bureau spokesperson Darin Broton (Darin Broton) said the agency was "cautiously optimistic" about the bill.

The new standard will require automakers to ensure that 20% of cars sold in Minnesota use batteries.

As written, Minnesota’s rules are relatively mild. These rules especially do not apply to off-road or heavy vehicles or equipment, such as agricultural equipment or semi trucks. These rules do not apply to existing or second-hand vehicles and do not require emission testing.

Plenty of exemptions

Minnesota officials are also careful to ensure that no one needs to buy an electric car. The legislation will not affect biofuels or prevent Minnesota from supporting cleaner fuels.

"In states that have adopted the ZEV standard, there are electric vehicle brands and models that are easier to obtain than Minnesota. As manufacturers announce more new electric SUVs, trucks, and cars on the road, Minnesota should embark on embracing this new technology. And at the forefront of providing consumers with more choices. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control website, more new electric vehicles on the market here may also lead to more second-hand electric vehicles available to consumers.

"Minnesota needs to achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% by 2025 and 80% by 2050. However, we failed to achieve our goals in 2015, nor can we achieve our future goals," the website added.

According to the Minnesota website, transportation is currently the biggest source of climate change pollution there. Light and medium vehicles generate more than half of all traffic emissions in Minnesota. The state has set a goal of 2030 that 20% of all passenger vehicles in the state will be electric vehicles. According to the Federal Clean Air Act of 1970, states can choose to follow federal emission standards or adopt stricter standards for clean cars.