Why Minnesota Democrats aren’t embracing California’s ban on new gas cars

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States such as Washington and Massachusetts will join California in banning new gas-powered cars for sale by 2035. They see it as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

State Rep. Jamie Long


However, Minnesota’s prominent Democrats, who supported a previous move towards cleaner cars, aren’t supporting the idea. Gov. Gov.


A key DFL lawmaker from Minnesota, progressive Minneapolis, is now denying the idea. Jamie Long, a state representative from Minnesota who heads the Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee in the House, said that the governor is “taking a right approach” by using a less stringent version of California’s auto emission standards for one year.


“I think the likelihood that we follow California is probably low.” Long stated to MinnPost that electric cars are not as common in Minnesota than in other states. “I believe the likelihood that California will be our model .”

Minnesota must choose which auto regulations it will follow


Minnesota adopted Clean Cars standards last year. These standards are identical to California’s and require automakers to produce more electric vehicles to be sold in Minnesota starting in 2024.


California is only state that has the power to set its own emission regulations. However, other states have the option to either follow California’s lead or adhere to federal standards.

The majority of Democrats support Clean Cars Minnesota because it offers more EV optionsspan styling=”font-weight 400 ;”>, stimulates a lagging sector and reduces carbon emissions. Republicans and auto dealers are opposed to the regulations. They claim that they interfere with a free market, and force people to buy expensive EVs.


In August, California tightened the rules. The state will allow auto makers to produce fewer internal combustion engines cars for sale starting in the vehicle model year 2026. This will continue until 2035. People will still be able buy new or used gas cars in California and other states. There will still be some plug-in hybrids that run on gasoline. )

Minnesota’s old program will continue for one year up to 2025span styling=”font-weight 400 ;”>. Minnesota will then have to either join California in banning new gasoline cars or return to more stringent federal regulations.


Walz and his Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will make the final decision. The MPCA is able to act without the need for new legislation due to state laws that regulate pollution regulation. However, lawmakers can always amend those laws and their views will likely be considered in state decisions.


MPCA Commissioner Katrina Kessler reiterated Friday that the agency has not started a rulemaking process to prohibit the sale of new gasoline cars by 2035, and instead is focusing on the implementation of less aggressive 2025 regulations.


The MPCA previously estimated that EVs should make up 6.2% to 7.4% in new light-duty vehicle sales to Minnesota for the Clean Cars standard.


Kessler stated that the older rules have not reached the “start point”. “It is premature to ask us what we are going to do in three or more days .”

Key House Democrat does not call for a ban on cars


Long is the Minneapolis DFLer and a prominent voice in climate and energy policy at his party’s state Capitol. He is also part of the progressive wing.

Friday’s speech was given by the governor wearing a windmill lapelpin. The governor also unveiled a “ Climate Action Framework “, which details the hopes and policies of Democrats, climate non-profits, and businesses in reducing carbon emissions.


It calls for 20% of Minnesota’s vehicles to be electric by 2030, and for a 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2040 from the transportation sector. Even though it would dramatically reduce the emissions from Minnesota’s transportation sector, which accounts for about 25% of Minnesota’s emissions, it does not ban sales of gas cars. The transportation sector is partly to blame for the fact that the state has not yet reached its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2025.

MinnPost photo taken by Walker Orenstein
Friday’s announcement by Gov. Tim Walz (center) unveiled the “Climate Action Framework”, which details the policy hopes of Democrats, climate nonprofits, and businesses in order to reduce carbon emissions throughout the state.


Long stated that Minnesota’s Clean Cars rules would spark the EV market and offer consumers options not available in other states. He said that Minnesota will be able to reassess its position after the Clean Cars rules are over.


Long said Minnesota is unique from California and other states. Long stated that EVs are not as popular in Minnesota and that the state requires a stronger charging system. Minnesota is the only Midwest state to have adopted the older version of the auto emission standards.


Long stated that he believes we must get to a point where Minnesotans can choose to purchase electric vehicles and have the infrastructure to support them. “I believe that in the next few decades that’s where my focus will be, it’s getting options for Minnesotans to purchase new vehicles .”


What would Long, Walz, and other Democrats do if there was a midterm election? This will determine who controls the Legislature and who the governor is.

In this instance, politics cannot be ignored. This issue is controversial. Some Democrats, especially in rural areas, have opposed the Clean Cars standard.


Republicans have been criticizing Democrats recently for not having a clear answer to their question about California’s gas ban. According to Rep. Chris Swedzinkski, a top Republican on the House’s climate and energy panel, “Right now gas cars are $15,000 less than electric.” “This would be a huge shift with costly consequences for Minnesota families and businesses as well as auto dealers. We aren’t getting straight answers from Gov. Walz and his agencies.”

What Democrats want to do instead

Long stated that he would like to see a bill passed to provide EV rebates and more funding for electric vehicle charging stations. Long also stated that there have been federal investments in charging, and the Inflation Reduction Act would pay for an EV credit. Some automakers have set their own goals to limit or stop the sale of gasoline vehicles.


When the Clean Cars Minnesota standard is in its short run, Long stated that “there’s going be a lot of in motion” by the federal government as well as auto manufacturers to improve the industry.


The climate framework presented by Walz at an Ecolab facility, Eagan, and the MPCA in Eagan, calls for more money to fund a statewide pedestrian/bike network, more transit, land use policies that encourage multimodal transport, and more funding for the ban on new gas cars.

The framework to reduce carbon emissions from cars includes a major policy proposal, known as the “low carbon fuel standard”. This requires that fuels be less “carbon-intensive” over time. This would have to be approved by a legislature that is currently divided between the Republican-led Senate and the majority-DFL House.


This policy was adopted in California, Washington, and Oregon.

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