Clean Cars Advocates Welcome Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Clean Cars Rule Announcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2020
Contact: Jeremy Drucker (612) 670-9650

New rule will help clean our air, improve our health, and save Minnesotans’ money

St. Paul, MN–Today the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) announced it will formally publish its draft clean cars rule on Monday. If enacted this rule will reduce tailpipe emissions from new, primarily gasoline-powered or “internal combustion engine” (ICE) cars and light-duty trucks and increase the number of electric vehicles (EVs) for sale.

Minnesota has a choice of staying with the more regressive federal standard or adopting the clean car standard. By adopting the cleaner standard Minnesota would be joining fourteen other states and the District of Columbia in taking a forward looking view toward a better, cleaner transportation system. Nevada and New Mexico are also looking at adopting these standards.

A report earlier this year from an independent consultant showed that adopting clean cars standards will not only reduce air and climate pollution in the North Star state but also save Minnesotans money. The report found that clean cars standards would result in:

  • Consumer savings. An average savings of $1,600 dollars per new vehicle mainly due to lower fuel costs.
  • Reduced emissions of smog-forming pollutants. Many respiratory diseases, such as asthma, are associated with and worsened by air pollution. Cars and trucks that run on fossil fuel emit many health-threatening pollutants such as oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which react together to create smog. The study found that the program will result in significant reductions in smog-forming pollutants (NOx and VOCs).  These reductions will result in fewer respiratory-related illnesses and improved public health.
  • Reduced emissions of climate pollutants. The study found that Clean Cars Minnesota will deliver greenhouse gas reductions of about 1 million metric tons (MMT) in 2030 and about 2.5 MMT in 2050.

In response to today’s news, Minnesotans for Clean Cars coalition members issued the following statements:

Michael Noble, Executive Director, Fresh Energy

“Clean Cars Minnesota is a crucial step to building a cleaner and healthier transportation system in Minnesota. It is no secret that we are behind on our carbon reduction goals, as set by the bipartisan Next Generation Energy Act. Tried-and-true policies like clean car standards will get us back on track by reducing climate change-causing pollution, while also improving our public health and ensuring Minnesotans have the clean car choices they want. We thank Governor Walz and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for moving ahead with this vital policy.”

Paul Austin, Executive Director, Conservation Minnesota

“Minnesotans agree our four unique seasons make our state special. Adopting the Clean Car rule is an important step to address the number one source of climate change-causing pollution in our state and ensure future generations are able to experience Minnesota’s Great Outdoors the same way we have. We commend the MPCA for moving forward with the Clean Cars Minnesota rule.”

Margaret Levin, State Director, Sierra Club North Star Chapter

“Cars and trucks on Minnesota roads are the #1 source of climate change pollution currently emitted in our state. And we are feeling the impact: our winters are warming 13 times faster than our summers, and extreme weather is becoming more frequent. Cleaner cars will help preserve the Minnesota we know and love for generations to come.”

Sam Grant, Executive Director, MN350

“Through Clean Cars Minnesota, Minnesotans are leading the transition from fossil fuels.  Increasing access to electric vehicles across the state allows us to protect the health of all who live here, lessen the need for new fossil fuel infrastructure like the Line 3 pipeline, and therefore protect untamed wilds, honor treaty rights, and preserve clean air. Electric vehicles have already become the more affordable and efficient mode of transportation for many drivers worldwide, and it’s critical we take action not just through Clean Cars Minnesota, but by enacting policies for rebates, affordable payment options, and increasing our transitways and bikeways so that clean air and a stable climate are for all.”

Ellen Anderson, Climate Program Director, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

“In order to address the climate crisis, we need to change how we get around. MCEA supports a strong Clean Cars rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality in our communities, and save Minnesotans money at the pump.”

Sam Benson, Minnesota Interfaith Power Light

“Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light strongly supports Minnesota’s adoption of clean car standards. Our members care about being stewards of our land and natural environment. One way that we can do that is by reducing pollution from our transportation sector and accelerating the transition to a clean energy future.”

Anne Borgendale, Clean Up River Environment (CURE) 

“Rural Minnesotans have a lot to gain from a Clean Cars rule. Living in rural Minnesota means driving long distances for work, school, healthcare, etc., and a benefit of Clean Cars will be cost savings every time we drive. This rule will help to ensure rural places are included in a clean transportation future—and its economic growth—while reducing climate pollution.”

Dr. Macaran Baird, Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate

“Vehicle related air pollution contributes to heart and lung diseases and increased emergency room visits for asthma. Clean cars standards will significantly reduce air pollution for those most affected in both urban and rural areas, saving both lives and health care costs. Clean Car Standards will also help Minnesota do its part in addressing the climate crisis and transition to a healthy, zero-carbon future.”

Michelle Robinson, director of the Clean Transportation Program at Union of Concerned Scientists 

“The future of transportation is clean. Driving cleaner cars and trucks, including electric-powered vehicles, has real benefits for both consumers and the environment. We need strong policies in place to make sure everyone can access these benefits. With today’s announcement, Minnesota’s leaders show that they understand the need for policies that can help accelerate these innovative technologies.

“A stronger clean vehicle market will drive down costs for consumers who want to make the switch, and reduce pollution from vehicles in communities across the state. We applaud Minnesota for working to build a cleaner transportation future.”

Nicole Rom, Executive Director, Climate Generation

“Clean Cars standards will help move Minnesota toward the healthy future economy we need. Action to address climate change is the single biggest issue named by thousands of Minnesotans who support the Clean Cars rulemaking. In addition to reducing harmful emissions from the highest polluting sector, transportation, Clean Cars will prioritize protecting our state’s communities, wild spaces, and future generations from climate change impacts.”

Alli Gold Roberts, Director of State Policy, Ceres 

“Companies across the U.S. are taking steps to electrify their fleets or expand electric vehicle charging stations for their employees and customers. With strong clean car standards in place, Minnesota can take advantage of this growing corporate demand and ensure Minnesotans reap the cost-saving and health benefits of clean vehicles. Ceres applauds state leaders for recognizing the importance of these standards.”

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