Minnesota to Become the First Clean Car State in the Midwest

Statement by Michelle Robinson, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published May 7, 2021

WASHINGTON (May 7, 2021)—Today, a state administrative law judge in Minnesota ruled that the state can proceed with new clean car standards. The new rules, proposed in 2019 by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Laura Bishop, would set emissions standards for all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the state and require auto manufacturers to sell more electric vehicles to consumers in Minnesota. When this rule is finalized, Minnesota will join 14 other states and the District of Columbia that have adopted strong clean car standards. This is a critical step for the state’s efforts to reduce the emissions that cause climate change, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Michelle Robinson, director of the Clean Transportation Program at UCS.

“Today’s recommendation by the Office of Administrative Hearings puts Minnesota on the path to a clean, modern transportation system—one that benefits public health, the climate and drivers. We applaud Minnesota’s move to join a strong and growing group of clean-car states.

“Transportation is the biggest source of global warming emissions in Minnesota and the U.S. as a whole. We can’t meet the challenge of climate change unless we tackle pollution from transportation. Clean car standards will save Minnesota families hundreds of dollars at the gas pump every year, and the transition to electric vehicles will deliver even greater benefits to the state, cutting the average driver’s emissions in half while saving money on gas and maintenance—savings that are even greater for rural residents. Strong clean car standards have real benefits.

“Unfortunately, some state legislators have tried to derail, delay, and undermine Minnesota’s effort to adopt strong clean-car standards through hardball legislative tactics. But today, the Office of Administrative Hearings confirmed that the standards are necessary, reasonable, and within the administration’s statutory authority. It’s time for those legislators to abandon their efforts to hold Minnesota back.

“Recent decisions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirm the important role of states in setting vehicle emissions standards. With a strong federal partner, Minnesota is moving towards the transportation system of the future.”