Members of the Senate DFL joined climate experts and advocates this week to discuss the benefits of the Clean Cars Minnesota rules proposed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in September 2019.
Proponents of the rules point to the significant health costs caused by air pollution each year, including the increased deaths and hospitalizations of Minnesotans with heart- and lung-related illnesses, which have been above 2,000 to 4,000 Minnesotans annually. Furthermore, Indigenous communities and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by air pollution, as existing social, economic, and health inequities intensify health effects. Outside of health outcomes, there is also additional evidence supporting the cost savings Greater Minnesotans – who are more likely to drive greater distances – stand to gain at the pump, as electric and low emission vehicles result in lower spending on gasoline.
Several major auto manufacturers, including General Motors, Ford, and Volkswagen, have made public commitments to producing new electric vehicle models in recent months. And given that less than half of all electric vehicle models currently available in the United States are on the market in Minnesota, the Clean Cars rules are argued to play an important role in ensuring Minnesotans have access to new models as they become available.
The rules are currently undergoing a public comment period, and comments may be submitted online at the Minnesota Office of Administrative hearing’s website. The initial period for public comment is scheduled to close on March 15, 2021.