Minnesota Establishing Clean Car Standards

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Gov. Tim Walz, D-Minn., has directed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to implement Clean Cars Minnesota standards, which are designed to combat climate change, protect public health, increase consumer choice, create jobs and save Minnesotans money at the pump, according to the governor.

Walz directed his administration to implement two standards to reduce vehicle emissions in the state. The low-emission vehicle standard requires vehicle manufacturers to deliver passenger cars, trucks and SUVs that produce lower greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions and other pollutants for sale in Minnesota. The zero-emission vehicle standard requires automobile manufacturers to deliver more vehicles with ultra-low or zero tailpipe emissions for sale in Minnesota, including electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid models. Initial estimates indicate that these two policies combined may reduce annual GHG emissions by 2 million tons by 2030.

“Climate change threatens the very things that make Minnesota a great place to live, from our magnificent 10,000 lakes to our farmable land and clean air,” says Walz. “If Washington won’t lead on climate, Minnesota will. That is why we are taking bold action to reduce carbon emissions in a way that increases car options, protects public health, creates jobs and saves Minnesotans money at the pump.”

“Clean Cars Minnesota builds on local climate leadership and activism by starting the process of adopting the same clean car standards that have been implemented in 14 other states, including Colorado and Maine,” says Laura Bishop, MPCA commissioner. “If Colorado and Maine can make new standards for electric vehicles work, Minnesota can definitely do it.”

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) released a report recommending state-level ways to cut carbon emissions, which included the adoption of clean car standards. As part of putting together this report, the MnDOT gathered input from Minnesotans across the state – and Minnesotans made it clear they want to help move the state toward a low-carbon transportation future, the department says.

“Reducing greenhouse-gas emissions is critical to MnDOT’s vision of maximizing the health of people, the environment and our economy,” says Margaret Anderson Kelliher, MnDOT commissioner. “I’m proud of the proactive efforts our team has taken to engage the public and other agencies in this discussion and develop meaningful actions and recommendations that will help Minnesota achieve a low-carbon transportation future.”

Earlier this week, the governor declared Sept. 23-29 “Climate Week” in Minnesota to highlight action necessary to mitigate climate change. He also recently established the Governor’s Biofuels Council, which will advise Walz on how to best expand the use of biofuels, increase the carbon efficiency of biofuels and implement biofuels as part of Minnesota’s larger goal to reduce GHG production in the transportation sector.

Walz has also put forward a set of policy proposals designed to lead the state’s electricity sector to 100% clean energy by 2050.

“We know the transportation sector is the No. 1 source of greenhouse-gas emissions in our state,” comments Gregg Mast, executive director of Clean Energy Economy Minnesota. “Adopting the Clean Cars Minnesota standards is a critical and necessary step in the right direction. Providing Minnesotans with expanded access to low- and zero-emission vehicles is a good thing and improves our ability to swiftly move towards a clean transportation system. These standards will strengthen our economy, advance innovation, drive new investment and create jobs. We thank Governor Walz for his commitment to a clean energy future and ensuring that Minnesota leads the way here in the Midwest.”

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