Minnesota has announced a new policy to adopt California’s stricter tailpipe emissions standards and mandate for automakers to get more zero-emission vehicles onto sales lots. This makes Minnesota the first state in the U.S. American Midwest to do so.
The policy is set to “reduce carbon emissions, create good-paying jobs, boost Minnesota’s manufacturing industry, and increase the choices Minnesotans have in purchasing cars,” according to the lawmakers. The rules will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024 and will only affect vehicles produced as of 2025, but the step was a big one for the midwestern state. Proponents spoke of “unprecedented opposition”, which even cost the job of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Laura Bishop, whose agency led the push for the standards.
To recap, the Californian proposal was originally presented by governor Jerry Brown, who signed a decree requiring at least 5 million EVs on California roads by 2030. This was to be accompanied by a 2.5 billion dollar programme spread over 8 years to continue state subsidies for electrified vehicles, as well as set up a total of 200 hydrogen fuel stations by 2025 as well as 250,000 charging stations (including 10,000 DC fast chargers). The move was also bitterly fought by the Trump administration, which was trying its best to undermine climate-friendly policy at the time.
Governor Tim Walz pushed for the clean vehicle standards as part of his broader effort to combat the climate crisis. “Minnesotans certainly know that old adage, ‘You need to skate where the puck is going to be,’ ” Walz told reporters. “The puck is going to be in EV vehicles, and that is irrefutable.”
The new policy still has opposition from the Automobile industry though, as the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association, which unsuccessfully sued the MPCA over the clean car rules, issued a statement Monday stating that it considers them “unnecessary”: “The California Rule puts California bureaucrats in charge of Minnesota industry, and they will impose an artificial supply mandate on the Minnesota marketplace and put Minnesota on track for an outright ban on the sale of combustible engine vehicles,” association President Scott Lambert said. More argumentation was built on a supposed lack of market interest in electric vehicles, which was
While the Automobile Dealers Association will do their best to undo the new policy, state lawmakers will continuing working to pass a state rebate for electric vehicle purchases, which has already failed once this year.
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