Republican bill to stop clean cars clears another committee hurdle

The Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee heard a Republican-sponsored bill that, if enacted, would halt Governor Walz’s initiative to adopt clean cars standards for low- and zero-emission vehicle emissions in Minnesota. 

The governor and many DFLers have championed the initiative, which will be accomplished through the adoption of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency rules. The bill heard in committee this would stop that effort, with Republicans on the committee taking the position that adopting these standards would pose a hardship for Minnesota’s auto dealers and could cost more for consumers. The bill essentially removes the MPCA’s ability to regulate vehicle emissions.

Advocates of the governor’s initiative say these fears are unfounded. Clean cars are in high demand, and rather than making Minnesota a regulatory island, the proposal will bring residents of neighboring states to buy them. As a fuel source, electricity is less expensive, and its pricing is more stable than gasoline. Electric vehicles are three to four times more efficient than internal combustion engine vehicles, with maintenance and repair costs at about 60% lower. Estimates show that adopting the clean cars standards would save the average Minnesota family nearly $3,000 by 2030.

In Minnesota, the top source of climate pollution comes from the transportation sectors – cars and trucks. Advocates say adopting these standards will significantly improve air quality in the state, give consumers more choices, and will save Minnesotans money. And, once adopted, it will result in meaningful steps taken toward addressing climate change.

The bill to stop the clean cars initiative was approved on a voice vote by the Republican-led Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee. Previously, the bill passed the Environment Policy and Legacy Finance Committee, the Transportation Finance and Policy Committee, and the State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee. It will be heard next by the Finance Committee. (SF 3496)