17 States Consider Adopting California Electric Vehicle Mandate

Minneapolis (AP) — The 17 states with vehicular emission standards tied to regulations established in California require all new cars, pickups and SUVs to be electric or hydrogen-powered. We are facing an important decision as to whether to follow the strictest new rules. By 2035.

Under the Clean Air Act, states must comply with standard federal vehicle emission standards unless they choose, at least in part, to comply with California’s more stringent requirements.

Among them, Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Vermont will adopt California’s new gasoline-fueled vehicle ban. Colorado and Pennsylvania are among the states that probably don’t. Minnesota’s legal basis is a little darker. Minnesota’s “clean car” rule is a political minefield and subject to legal battles. Meanwhile, Republicans are rebelling in Virginia.

The Minnesota Auto Dealers Association has interpreted state and federal law to say that California’s new rules automatically apply within the state, and claims it is trying to block it in court.

“This technology doesn’t allow vehicles to perform well in cold weather,” said Scott Lambert, president of the industry group. “We don’t all live in Southern California.”

An official with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said adopting California’s changes would require the state to begin an entirely new rulemaking process. And in court filings and legislative hearings, they have said they have no plans to do so now.

“We are not California. Minnesota has its own plans,” Governor Tim Walz said in a statement. He called Minnesota’s program “a smart way to increase consumer choice, not reduce it. Our priorities are to reduce costs, increase choice, and help Minnesota people find the vehicle that’s right for them.” to be able to drive a

Oregon regulators are open for public comment until September 7 on whether to adopt California’s new standards. Colorado regulators that adopted California’s old rules will not follow California’s new rules, the Democratic government of Jared Polis said.

“Governors share the goal of rapidly transitioning to electric vehicles, but the technology is changing so quickly that they are calling for 100% of cars sold to be electric by a specific date. We are skeptical about that,” the Colorado Department of Energy said in a statement.

Pennsylvania regulators, which had only partially adopted California’s old standards, said they would not automatically follow the new rules. Under Democratic Gov. Tom Wolfe, Pennsylvania last year began a regulatory process to fully comply with California rules, but abandoned it.

Virginia was on the road to adopting California rules under a law passed last year that gave Democrats full control of the Virginia government. But the Republicans who control the House and Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin have said they will push for severing ties with the state.

Auto dealers in Minnesota are looking to make the state’s current rules, and the possibility of tightening to incorporate California’s new ones, an issue in the fall elections. Control of Congress and the governor’s office is in hand, and dealers hope to persuade Congress to roll back the regulations in 2023 unless they win in court first.

With Walz’s support, the MPCA adopted California’s existing standards through administrative rulemaking. One of her victims was Laura Bishop, who resigned as her MPCA commissioner after it was revealed that she lacked the votes to gain approval in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Walz and his administration framed Minnesota’s clean car rule as a fairly straightforward way to increase the availability of electric vehicles and help the state meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals. The rule is intended to increase the availability of battery-powered and hybrid vehicles beginning with the 2025 model year, requiring manufacturers to comply with California standards currently in force for low and zero-emission vehicles.

Lambert said the state’s auto dealers are not against electric vehicles. Currently, he accounts for 2.3% of new car sales in Minnesota, and we expect consumer interest to continue to grow. But he said battery-powered vehicles have less range in colder climates, making them less attractive in northern states. Minnesota’s rules already threaten to give dealers more electric cars than customers buy, and adopting California’s ban would make matters worse, he said.

According to Lambert’s interpretation, under federal law, states must either adopt California’s regulations in full or follow less stringent federal emission standards. He said he can’t pick and choose from each part, which effectively means Minnesota will ban sales of new conventional fuel vehicles starting with the 2035 model year, he said. I was.

Lambert’s association has already fought Minnesota’s existing clean car rules in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and its petition foresaw the changes California announced late last month. As it argues, the key question is whether “future amendments to the incorporated California rule will automatically become part of the Minnesota rule.”

MPCA attorneys argued otherwise and asked the court to dismiss the objections. Her MPCA commissioner Katrina Kessler has held similar debates for months, including before a skeptical state Senate committee last March.

Aaron Clems, chief strategy officer for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, who plans to bring his own case against dealers in court, admitted the legal situation was confusing. He said it wasn’t clear if his group would ultimately ask Minnesota to comply with California’s new ban.

“We haven’t fully analyzed California’s rules to determine whether we’re going to drive adoption in Minnesota,” Clems said. He said other issues have arisen, such as the incentives for electric vehicles in the Inflation Control Act recently signed into law by President Joe Biden, and the intentions of some of the major automakers to move to all-electric vehicles. pointed out.


Associated Press reporter Jim Anderson in Denver. Jillian Flaccus of Portland, Oregon. Mark Levy of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania contributed to this story.


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