An Update on Clean Cars

On November 19, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) conducted its last of six public meetings, the first phase of the rulemaking process for Clean Cars. Supporters have come out in force to speak in favor of Clean Cars Minnesota, representing rural, urban, and suburban areas, and a diversity of ages and communities throughout the state. Among top concerns we’ve heard from Minnesotans is the importance of Clean Cars to improve air quality. As many have said, our family members and neighbors—and society—pay the price for poor air quality. Those with asthma and heart conditions, the very young, and the elderly are among those who suffer the most direct and costly health impacts that come from burning fossil fuels in transportation. The imperative to slash carbon emissions as quickly as possible has also been top of mind for those in attendance at the public meetings. And still others have been frustrated at the lack of options for purchasing electric vehicles, sharing stories about having to travel out-of-state to acquire the type of vehicle that best fits their needs.

The momentum for Clean Cars is building, and it is critical that we sustain it moving forward. Now through December 6, MPCA is accepting comments online related to the proposed Clean Cars rule. It is vital that the Agency – which is required to gather public input as part of the rulemaking process – continues to hear from Minnesotans. Submitting a comment builds a public record to provide MPCA with the support it needs to move forward with Clean Cars. For instructions on how to submit an online comment, visit the Coalition for Clean Transportation website, and check out this flyer for more reasons Fresh Energy supports this rule.

As expected, the pushback from Big Oil  is gearing up. As this Desmog article notes, Koch Industries has spent twenty percent more on lobbying in 2019 compared to this time last year, fighting initiatives like Clean Cars in other states. Fight back against Big Oil by taking a few minutes to submit a comment online. Learn more about how to submit a comment and why Fresh Energy supports Clean Cars on our Take Action page.

The more technical parts of Clean Cars

The Clean Cars rule is made up of two parts that apply only to new vehicles. The first is a Low Emissions Vehicle standard (LEV), which is a tailpipe emissions standard for auto manufacturers. LEV is an efficiency standard tailored to the size of the vehicle, applying to carbon pollution and other air pollutants. At present, the federal standard is the same as the proposed LEV standard – Clean Cars would ensure that the current standards are upheld going forward, even if the federal government decides to loosen them. The Zero Emission Vehicle standard (ZEV) is the other component of Clean Cars. ZEV requires manufacturers to deliver more zero emission vehicles to Minnesota dealerships. ZEV is not an individual mandate; rather, it helps ensure that zero emission vehicles are available for those who want to purchase them.

At this point in the process MPCA may adopt either LEV, ZEV, both standards, or neither standard; the Agency is soliciting feedback to from the public to provide direction. Fresh Energy strongly supports the adoption of both the LEV and ZEV standards to maximize benefits to human health and reduce transportation emissions as quickly as possible.

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