car on road at sunset

Support for the Clean Cars Rule

by Nels Paulsen,
Policy Director

In order to address Minnesota’s number 1 source of climate change pollution—the transportation sector—the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is considering adopting Clean Cars Minnesota Rules. Today the Minnesota Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee held a joint hearing on the MPCA’s proposed rule. Conservation Minnesota submitted the following letter in support of the proposed Clean Cars standards.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021 

RE: Joint Meeting: Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Finance; Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance

Dear Chair Ruud, Chair Ingebrigsten, and Senators:

I write today in support of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s proposed Clean Cars Rule. Minnesota has an opportunity to be a part of the clean technology revolution that is already underway, and the proposed Clean Cars Rule will help Minnesotans have more choices in the future when considering which cars, trucks, and SUVs they want to purchase for their families, businesses, and themselves.

Governor Walz has made clear that the reasons for implementing clean car standards in Minnesota are twofold: to reduce carbon emissions and to increase the choices available for Minnesotans shopping for a new vehicle.

Many other testifiers have rightly pointed out the need for Minnesota to reduce our carbon emissions, particularly from the transportation sector. Conservation Minnesota supports many state policies aimed at reducing our statewide carbon emissions. Businesses and consumers are already looking for ways to reduce emissions and your committee and the Senate Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee will have the opportunity to shape the policies so that as many Minnesotans as possible benefit from the transformation already unfolding.

The Clean Cars Rule will meet an important need by increasing the options available to Minnesotans looking to purchase a new car, truck, or SUV. As a pickup truck owner, I am excited to see what the future holds for trucks with low or no tailpipe emissions. And the clean technology revolution coming in cars, trucks, and SUVs reminds me of another revolution already happening on frozen lakes across Minnesota.

The days of lugging extra gasoline to run an ice auger are quickly becoming history. Ice anglers nearly unanimously prefer newer battery powered ice augers over older, louder, and more polluting gasoline powered augers. And this transformation isn’t stopping with the ice auger.

We’ve seen the announcements not just from startups like Tesla or Rivian, we’ve seen GM announce their new electric Hummer pickup. Lordstown Motors already has 50,000 electric pickups preordered. Minnesotans need to have access to new, cleaner technologies that are coming in the transportation sector.

Without the proposed Clean Cars Rule, Minnesotans will have fewer options and we will lose out to other states that have adopted similar rules. What if Wisconsin adopts a clean car standard before Minnesota? Do we want Wisconsin auto dealers to be at an advantage offering more low emissions or zero emissions vehicles?

In summary, the Clean Cars Rule will reduce carbon emissions and will help Minnesotans have more access to the cleaner cars, trucks and SUVs in the coming decade.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comment to the joint committee meeting.


Nels Paulsen
Policy Director