Skip to main content

Gov. Tim Walz announces new clean car standards for Minnesota

The move puts the governor on collision course with the Trump White House.

Governor Tim Walz has announced new clean car standards for Minnesota that will, among other things, require car manufacturers to offer more electric vehicles for sale in the state.

Gov. Walz has directed the Minensota Pollution Control Agency to implement the measure, which he says doesn't require the approval of the legislature and which would see Minnesota join 13 other states that have adopted car emissions standards as originally set by California.

The two changes are as follows:

– The low-emission vehicle (LEV) standard requiring vehicle manufacturers to "deliver passenger cars, trucks and SUVs that produce lower greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants for sale in Minnesota," thus reducing average car emissions by an 5 percent per year through model year 2025.

– The zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standard requiring carmakers to offer more vehicles with ultra-low or zero emission vehicles for sale in Minnesota starting in model year 2023, including electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, which the governor's office said would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2 million tons by 2030.

In a conference call with reporters, Gov. Walz said that the market will still dictate what people buy, and that Minnesotans who want to use their pickups to haul their ice houses can continue to do so.

"But we’re going to also make sure that there’s ice on that lake in January," he added, noting that there is a huge demand for electric and low-emission vehicles in Minnesota, but the choice isn't there as the state doesn't have clean car standards.

It will nonetheless set the state against the Trump administration, which is attempting to free car emissions standards and roll back California's permission to set its own emissions standards.

Minnesota is among 22 states that have joined a lawsuit seeking to uphold states' rights to set their own car emission standards.

“Climate change threatens the very things that make Minnesota a great place to live, from our magnificent 10,000 lakes to our farmable land and clean air,” said Governor Walz.

"If Washington won’t lead on climate, Minnesota will. That is why we are taking bold action to reduce carbon emissions in a way that increases car options, protects public health, creates jobs, and saves Minnesotans money at the pump."

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The measure has immediately prompted criticism from Minnesota Republicans who say it will increase vehicle prices for Minnesota consumers.

"By using rulemaking, Governor Walz is trying to by-pass the voice of the people of Minnesota to enact his own radical agenda," said Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska).

"These new standards would increase car costs and effectively eliminate many of the cars and trucks Minnesotans own and continue to rely on."

Nonetheless, the governor's office claims that the changes will save Minnesotans money at the gas pumps and in maintenance to the tune of $320 million a year in 2030 and $750 million by 2040.

"Electric vehicles are cheaper to operate and maintain than gasoline vehicles. Increasing access to these vehicles will save Minnesotans thousands of dollars over the lifetime of their car and reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil," the governor's office said.

Next Up

Dave Hutchinson

Dave Hutchinson has police license suspended for 30 days

The sheriff's suspension will begin on Nov. 22.

minnesota bureau of criminal apprehension - bca

Man with sword, officers who shot him in North Branch identified

The 31-year-old was shot multiple times in the Friday incident.

Jeff Plush

MN-based USA Curling 'reviewing' report that CEO ignored abuse in NWSL

Jeff Plush is under fire for multiple allegations made by U.S. women soccer players.

Axdahl's Garden Farm & Greenhouse

7 Minnesota pumpkin patches to visit this fall

Plenty of patches to pick the best pumpkin

slushy snow

Sven Sundgaard responds to AccuWeather's winter forecast

Take anything beyond a couple weeks with a grain of salt, warns meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.


Rage Against the Machine cancels rest of tour, including MN shows

The cancellations include a 2023 stop at the Target Center.

Screen Shot 2022-10-04 at 11.03.16 AM

Watch: Speeding drivers use Minneapolis bike lanes to overtake

Community members have called for better safety precautions in response.

Jamal Smith

Jamal Smith sentenced to life for Plymouth road rage killing

A guilty verdict was determined by a jury this summer.


coronavirus, covid-19

Minnesota braces for new restrictions ahead of Walz announcement

The governor will take further action as the state's COVID crisis worsens.

What is in Gov. Tim Walz's first budget proposal?

It provides a huge boost to education funding,

Gov. Tim Walz to continue appeal to block Enbridge oil pipeline

The appeal was originally launched by the Dayton administration.

Tim Walz sworn in as Minnesota's new governor

Outgoing Gov. Mark Dayton said a short, grateful farewell to office.

Gov. Tim Walz to hire outside consultant as he looks at breakup of DHS

The embattled department has been the subject of several controversies this year.

Screen Shot 2020-04-29 at 1.04.04 PM

Gov. Tim Walz to make Stay at Home announcement Thursday

The governor is expected to extend the order, but allow more businesses to re-open.