Frequently Asked Questions

What is ‘Minnesotans for Clean Cars'?

Minnesotans for Clean Cars is a coalition of Minnesota-based organizations that believe that adopting clean car standards in our state is a smart solution to reducing climate pollution, is consumer friendly, and will benefit Minnesotans’ bottom line.

What are ‘clean car standards'?

‘Clean car standards’ refers to the rulemaking underway at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). They apply to automakers only and aim to reduce GHG and other polluting emissions from passenger vehicles in two ways:

  • By reducing tailpipe emissions from new, primarily gasoline-powered or “internal combustion engine” (ICE) cars and light-duty trucks; and
  • By increasing the number of electric vehicles (EVs) for sale.

The rulemaking process, which began in Fall 2019, has multiple opportunities for Minnesotans to make their voices and concerns heard. As written, these standards will reduce vehicle emissions and increase the number of EVs for sale in Minnesota beginning in the model year 2024 through model 2025, at which points emissions standards and ZEV credit requirements will remain steady. If the standards change in the future, MPCA would need to lead a new round of clean car rulemaking.

Why does Minnesota need Clean Cars?

Climate change threatens the things Minnesotans love – our land, our air, our water, our children’s future. Minnesota is leading in pushing for innovative solutions to the climate crisis, including implementing clean car standards — requiring car manufacturers to provide more clean car options in Minnesota. Clean cars will protect our environment and our health, increase consumer choice, save Minnesotans money, and help grow our economy.

How will adopting Clean Cars help reduce air pollution?

Clean cars standards will reduce local air pollution by reducing auto emissions over time on each year’s new car models sold in the state. The standards will also bring more electric cars to the state. This means everyone, not just new car buyers, will benefit.

What other states have adopted Clean Cars?

11 states have adopted Clean Cars in full. Cold weather states that have adopted clean cars standards include Colorado, New Jersey, Vermont, Pennsylvania and more. 3 other states have adopted part of the standards.

Does Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency (PCA) have the authority to adopt Clean Cars?

Not only does the Minnesota PCA have the clear authority to act on reducing emissions, it has the obligation to protect our air, our water, and our health under the federal Clean Air Act. In Minnesota, the legislature has authorized PCA to adopt “standards of emission of air contaminants from motor vehicles,” and has directed the PCA to adopt these air pollution standards. Minnesota’s legislative authority to do this also mirrors the authority used by agencies in six other states to adopt these standards. And in these other states, legal challenges to that authority have failed.

What has happened so far during the rulemaking process in Minnesota?

The rulemaking process, which began in Fall 2019, has multiple opportunities for Minnesotans to make their voices and concerns heard. A series of public meetings across Minnesota were held by MPCA staff in October and November of 2019 to hear Minnesotans’ thoughts on the initially proposed clean car rulemaking. The MPCA also opened an informal comment period that gathered online comments too. More than 2,000 comments were received, with the majority overwhelmingly supporting the rulemaking as necessary for reasons of health, climate, and consumer choice.

Can the public still get involved in Minnesota's rulemaking process?

Opportunities for the public to engage with and inform the clean cars rulemaking process will continue in fall of 2020 when publication of the draft rule will kick off the formal rulemaking and another public comment period. COVID-conscious public hearings will also be held to provide a forum for oral or written testimony, and will be designed to allow participation from all across Minnesota. All this public input will be considered by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) overseeing the rulemaking who will determine whether the rule benefits Minnesotans more than its implementation may cost. The ALJ will then issue a report of their findings to the MPCA. If the ALJ recommends approval with no or minor modifications, the MPCA will finalize the rule and send it to the Governor’s office for approval. Finally, the Commissioner will sign an Order Adopting Rules and publish a Notice of Adoption in the State Register, signaling the clean car standards officially adopted by Minnesota.

Do Minnesotans support Clean Cars?

Over 2,400 comments were received in the first round of public comments, the vast majority supporting Clean Cars. The single most repeated comment the PCA heard was explicit support for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the importance of taking action to reduce the impacts of climate change. This held true across written comments (40%), PCA’s online survey (59%) and public meetings. Another 25% support Clean Cars for improving air quality in Minnesota, with an additional 18% supporting more electric vehicle availability in Minnesota.

When the draft rule rule is announced, Minnesotans will have another opportunity to weigh in both in person and in additional public comments.

What kinds of vehicles are included in these Clean Car standards?

Clean car standards in Minnesota would only include cars, light trucks and SUVs. It does NOT include farm or ranch implements like tractors or combines; delivery trucks; tractor trailers or other commercial vehicles.

How many new electric models are expected to enter the market over the next few years?

Nationally, auto manufacturers are focusing their attention on states that have adopted Clean Cars. These companies are not only bringing more electric vehicle options to these states, but they are investing in upgrading the electric charging infrastructure that will help charge these vehicles.

The electric vehicle market is growing rapidly. 91 electric models are expected by 2023, but Minnesota needs to adopt Clean Cars in order to ensure more of those models, which include electric light trucks and SUVs, are sent here.

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