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 stands — requiring car manufacturers to provide more clean car options in Minnesota. Clean car standards will protect our environment and our health, increase consumer choice and save Minnesotans money, and help grow our economy.
What is a Minnesota Clean Cars Standard?
This Minnesota Clean Cars Standard is a proposed rule from Governor Walz’s administration that is being made through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
A Minnesota Clean Cars Standard will do two things:
- It will ensure higher efficiency and less pollution from all cars and trucks sold in Minnesota.
- It will require auto dealers to sell more models of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids here as well.
Why is Minnesota pursing Clean Car Standards?
In 2007, Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the Next Generation Clean Energy Act into law. This bipartisan initiative set goals for reducing climate pollution in Minnesota. The topline goal was reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 (from their 2005 level).
According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s biennial report to the legislature climate pollution from electricity generation fell 29 percent—almost meeting the 2025 goal nine years early—showing that Minnesota has the capacity to make real change. Unfortunately, that is only part of the story: transportation emissions have barely dropped and are now Minnesota’s number one source of climate pollution.
Minnesota needs bold action to get the state back on track to meet climate pollution goals.
Rural Minnesotans have the most to gain from a Minnesota Clean Cars Standard
Rural residents live further away from jobs, stores, and healthcare providers. They end up driving more to get to work and perform daily errands. Increased vehicle efficiency and mileage equals saving money at the gas pump and decreasing their contributions to climate change. According to a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, electric vehicles can save rural drivers twice as much money and cut twice as much climate pollution as they can for urban drivers.
Clean electricity = Cleaner Cars
A Minnesota Clean Cars Standard isn’t only about electric vehicles, but it would require auto manufactures to sell more models of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids here. Some people question whether electric vehicles are actually cleaner than gas-powered cars. Another report from the Union of Concerned Scientists answers that question with a resounding, YES.
In Minnesota, you would need to drive a gas-powered car that gets at least 53 mpg to top the low emissions of an electric car.
Another big take away is that as our electricity generation gets cleaner, which is happening ahead of schedule in Minnesota, electric vehicles will keep getting cleaner and cleaner.
A Minnesota Clean Cars Standard will reduce electricity bills in the long run
A key finding of the 2018 report Electric Vehicle Cost-Benefit Analysis Plug-in Electric Vehicle Cost-Benefit Analysis: Minnesota was that in a high electric vehicle adoption scenario with overnight charging, utility customers could save $170 on their electric bills annually by 2050.
A Minnesota Clean Cars Standard saves ALL drivers money (gas-powered cars too!)
It’s been regularly repeated that the cost of gas-powered cars sold in Minnesota would increase by $800 if the Minnesota Clean Cars Standard is enacted. This comes from a regulatory analysis conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment during their clean cars proceedings. However, the same analysis shows that drivers will get that $800 paid back in fuel cost savings in the first five years and will actually save over $1600 during the lifetime of that car.
Electric Vehicle Operating Cost Calculator
Curious about how much it cost to operate an electric vehicle vs a gas-powered car? There’s a calculator for that.
“It only makes sense to put the highest mileage vehicles where we drive the most miles, rural Minnesota, and the MPCA Clean Car Standard would do just that. The Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid with a battery for commuter length trips and a gasoline engine for longer trips. It’s not an expensive luxury car. We bought it because it was affordable, and we needed a dependable car that gets us where we need to go at a very low cost.”
– Pete Kennedy, Murdock