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Clean car standards are coming our way

It’s official. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has adopted the so-called California standard for tailpipe emissions, and will mandate that auto dealers get more zero-emission vehicles on their sales lots. The rules were published Monday in the Minnesota State Register.

The rules won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2024 which gives auto dealers and manufacturers some time to adjust.

“These clean cars standards are a win across the board. With cleaner air, more car options, economic growth, and less money spent on foreign oil, every Minnesotan will benefit,” said Gov. Tim Walz. This move is part of his goal to reduce Minnesota’s carbon emissions.

The standards have received much pushback from auto dealers, and from Republicans in the Legislature, who see it as a threat to the state’s economic recovery from the pandemic. Republicans think that clean cars and electric vehicles will come in time, when consumers demand them and as innovations make them more reliable and affordable.

We think the success of these standards will rise and fall with the wishes of the consumer. Efforts a few decades ago to push the auto industry into producing smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles fell to the demand of consumers, who wanted bigger vehicles. Consumer demand for electric vehicles will push manufacturers and dealers far better than the government pushing the consumers to purchase vehicles, whether they want them or not.

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