Clean Car Conversations across Minnesota
In September, Governor Tim Walz announced he would direct the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to implement Clean Cars Minnesota. This announcement kicked off the rulemaking process to move Minnesota forward on tackling our state’s number one source of climate pollution. Throughout October and November, the MPCA hosted a total of six public hearings throughout the state.
Our Southeast Metro Regional Manager, Avery Hildebrand, attended a meeting at the Burnsville City Hall along with about 75 other people, including industry folks and electric vehicle owners. They were joined by MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop and knowledgeable staff who presented on the importance of the Clean Cars Minnesota initiative and provided information about what it means for Minnesota. The MPCA staff clearly stated that this would not prevent residents from purchasing a truck or SUV. Audience members showed overwhelming supportive for Low and Zero Emission Vehicle Standards (ZEV).
Following that meeting, East Metro Regional Manager Keely Cervantes attended the Minneapolis meeting at the Urban Research & Outreach Engagement Center. This audience, too, was supportive of adopting clean car standards, as transportation is the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. People asked questions related to public health, climate change, legislation, tax incentives, electric bus fleets, and biofuels. The MPCA discussed the timeline for the rulemaking process and the need for action to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals in the state of Minnesota.
Southern Minnesota Regional Manager Anna Richey attended the standing-room-only meeting in Mankato. The audience was largely supportive but did have questions about:
- the build-out of chargers into Greater Minnesota
- the availability of electric vehicles at dealerships outside the Metro
- the impact the influx of electric vehicles might have on infrastructure funding provided by the gas tax
- the relative cost of electric vehicles versus traditional vehicles
Local electric vehicle owner and community energy expert, Leigh Pomeroy, wisely reminded the attendees that we offer large subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, which currently puts electric vehicles at a bit of an initial cost disadvantage. However, that cost gap begins to close when you consider the transition away from fossil fuel subsidies and electric vehicles’ significantly lower maintenance costs. MPCA staff did an excellent job of answering questions and many of the attendees also helped to field some of the questions.
We discuss some of these facts and and others in our newsletter article things to know about electric vehicles.
The MPCA will be accepting public comments until December 6th. Additionally they have created a short survey to gather additional information from Minnesotans. The complete rulemaking process is expected to take between 12 and 18 months.
—Anna, Avery, and Keely