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Clean Cars Minnesota

What is it and why it matters

On September 25, 2019 Governor Walz announced Minnesota would move forward with adopting rules that promote passenger vehicles that produce less climate change-causing pollution and will result in cleaner, healthier air for Minnesotans.


These rules, called "clean car standards", form the basis of Clean Cars Minnesota


What exactly is Clean Cars Minnesota?


Clean Cars Minnesota refers to the effort underway to adopt clean car standards here in Minnesota via a rulemaking led by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). Clean car standards apply ONLY to automakers and aim to reduce climate-change causing pollution and other air pollution from passenger vehicles in two ways:

  • By reducing tailpipe emissions from new, primarily gasoline-powered or "internal combustion engine" (ICE) cars and light-duty trucks; and

  • By increasing the number of electric vehicles (EVs) for sale in state

The standards are also written to include a two-year delay between adoption and enforcement, to allow auto manufacturers time to prepare and adjust. So if the rules are adopted before the end of 2021, they would go into effect 2024.

Check out Fresh Energy's blogpost to learn more about the clean car standards and how they work:

So why do we need Clean Cars Minnesota?

  • Transportation is the largest emitting sector of climate change-causing pollution. It is essential to reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels in order to meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals and fight climate change.

  • Cleaner cars mean cleaner air. A report from MPCA last year showed that air pollution from sources like cars and trucks contribute up to 4,000 deaths in Minnesota each year.

  • Communities of color and low-income communities currently bear the brunt of negative health impacts from air pollution. Cleaning up emissions from transportation is an environmental justice issue.

  • Minnesotans deserve access to the full range of electric vehicles on the market. The Clean Cars rule will increase the number of electric vehicles available for purchase in the state.

  • Minnesotans are ready for electric vehicles. Six out of ten consumers are interested in electric vehicles, and 30% of Minnesota consumers would consider buying or leasing one in the next two years. More people recognize that electric cars are cheaper to maintain and fuel, and they are more affordable than ever.

  • Automakers such as Ford and GM have  announced plans for dozens of new electric models in the next five years, including twenty electric SUVs and crossovers, and have only doubled down on EVs in 2020States with clean car standards will have greater access to these vehicles.


The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is tasked with writing the rule to implement this policy, and they are currently finalizing their analysis ahead of the formal draft rule publication expected later this fall. To get the latest updates, head over to the MPCA website and sign up for alerts:

Last updated: October 6, 2020

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