Minnesota Advances to Become First Midwest Clean Cars State

The proposal to adopt a Clean Cars Minnesota program was given a greenlight today. An Administrative Law Judge ruled—as part of her report issued today—that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) could move forward based on the extensive, deliberative, and open process and after thousands of public comments and filings by stakeholders. The decision to greenlight the program, which would become final after additional procedural steps, effectively means Minnesota will become the first Midwest state to adopt a Clean Cars program to introduce more zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) together with cleaner internal-combustion engine vehicles into the state.

Today’s ruling also follows recent moves by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide permission back to states’ to enforce their clean car standards, reversing efforts by the prior Trump Administration to stymie states’ long held authority. The federal announcement effectively would allow Minnesota – as well as fourteen other states that have adopted clean car programs—to enforce their programs.

The adoption of the program is also a major win for Governor Walz who called upon MPCA to utilize their authority to adopt a Clean Cars MN program, as well as legislators who support cleaner and more affordable vehicles being available in the state. State leaders have recognized the program will deliver triple-wins for the state’s economy, public health, and the environment. As I discussed in a prior blog and reported in a study, the standards will:

  • Deliver saving on average of $1,600 to new vehicle purchasers over the life of their vehicles thanks primarily to fuel savings;
  • Reduce hundreds to thousands of tons of smog-forming pollutants annually together with millions of tons of climate change pollution
  • Expand consumer access to electric vehicles while delivering hundreds of millions in fuel-related savings to the state.

The enormous benefits to the state are why nearly 50 organizations across the state and country—including businesses, public health organizations, consumer advocates, labor representatives, social justice, faith-based groups, and conservationists—support a Clean Cars Minnesota program. Minnesota’s is one major step towards clean transportation and a big win for the Midwest.

Used with permission from Fresh Energy