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Federal Car Emission Standards Appear to Dovetail With MN Plan

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Friday, August 6, 2021   

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The federal government is preparing to implement new auto emission standards, and so is the state of Minnesota.

Backers of both initiatives say there will not be any problems with overlap. Through an executive order, President Joe Biden is calling for half of all passenger vehicles sold by 2030 to have zero emissions. Another part of the plan focuses on gas- powered engines, with tougher benchmarks for fuel emissions for 2023 and 2024 vehicles.

Anjali Bains, Senior Clean Transportation Manager at Minnesota-based Fresh Energy, said the federal goals match up with what will take place in Minnesota for 2025 models.

"So it matters for us because Minnesota will be following the federal emission standards for the next two years," Bains explained. "So, if the Biden administration is updating those standards, that means we get to enjoy more fuel-efficient vehicles sooner than even what Clean Cars Minnesota would have allowed us to enjoy."

She noted if the federal fuel-emission standards hold, it would be a smooth carryover into Minnesota's plan, which would mean auto dealers located near neighboring states wouldn't have to worry about price differentials.

Minnesota's standards have received pushback from the auto-dealer industry. Meanwhile, some climate observers say Biden's plan won't do enough to reduce the impact of global warming.

Despite the similarities, Bains noted Minnesota's plan has a key difference.

"Where automakers are required to send more electric vehicles here, and that is not something the federal tailpipe emissions standards will seek to address," Bains pointed out.

When it comes to zero-emissions cars, the Biden administration goal is not legally binding. But a handful of automakers said they support the long-term target, and hope to achieve nearly 50% sales of electric vehicles by 2030.


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