Why Minnesota Auto Dealers Went to Court to Stop California Auto Rules – Twin Cities

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Minnesota new car dealerships are ready for the coming era of electric vehicles (EVs). Our dealers invest millions of dollars to improve our stores, and we’re ready to play a vital role in our customers’ EV shopping experience, before and after their purchase.

But we’re not all-in for the mandate imposed by the Walz administration’s California Car proposal. Our frustration with the rule and the process used to create it led us to this new action.

Currently, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles account for 2.3% of total new car sales in Minnesota. However, the California rules imposed by the Walz administration would allow the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to set new rules of conduct for Minnesota and create an artificial procurement mandate that grabs our industry by the throat and won’t let go. nothing. In 2024, dealers will be required to carry 7% electric vehicles, and by 2025 that number will increase to 35%, four times as many electric vehicles sold in Minnesota since 2011. And it’s only getting worse. CARB procurement mandates are rapidly escalating, resulting in a complete ban on the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2034. Minnesota does not have the ability to modify or deviate from the ban now that he decided to join the program.

The decision to adopt CARB standards, and the accompanying ban on gas-powered cars, goes against nearly three decades of state policy to develop a biofuels industry, including the ethanol and biodiesel.

Our concerns have been ignored by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), an organization that has ignored our industry to promote this action. Despite multiple requests, Governor Walz never met with us about this. And while the legislature could intervene, House Democrats have ruled any debate on the issue out of order for the past two sessions. The Minnesota Court of Appeals may be our only hope for a fair hearing.

Our arguments in court are twofold and simple. First, under Minnesota’s Administrative Procedures Act, an agency cannot write another agency’s rules. In this case, the CARB writes the AMLA rules. In fact, not only does CARB write the rules, but the MPCA has decided that in the future, changes to CARB rules will automatically be incorporated into Minnesota as CARB changes its program.

Some groups have claimed that Minnesota’s rule is “modeled” on California’s. But the MPCA knows better and so do we. Federal law does not allow states to adopt their own emissions rule or to modify or amend California rules. States have two choices: adopt the California program or default to federal standards. Minnesota has no ability to modify or alter the rules issued by CARB.

California is driving this bus and Minnesota jumped in as a passenger. This abdication to another agency — let alone another state — is not permitted under Minnesota law.

Our second argument is that under federal clean air law, Minnesota is ineligible to be part of the California program. Federal law only allows states that have identified geographic areas of non-compliance with clean air standards for greenhouse gases to qualify for California’s rules. California has struggled with these areas of non-achievement for more than 50 years and currently has 149 identified locations in its state that meet these criteria. Minnesota has exactly none of those areas of non-achievement and hasn’t had one in over 20 years. The CARB writes rules to address their state’s air quality issues, a problem Minnesota simply doesn’t have.

So why don’t we want to be part of the California system? Because it interrupts the fast-developing free market approach. This disruption will cause unnecessary economic harm to dealers and consumers. Under the plan, only California-certified vehicles can be offered for sale in Minnesota and will cost at least $2,000 more than non-California-certified vehicles (MPCA numbers, not ours). Minnesota would be the only state in the Midwest to meet these standards.

This problem is exacerbated by the inexplicable fact that Congress recently removed the $7,500 tax credit on two-thirds of electric vehicles currently on the market. A procurement mandate with almost no consumption incentives simply won’t work.

CARB is trying to solve California’s problems. It will take no account of Minnesota’s air quality, demographics, agricultural, economic or weather profiles.

From the beginning, we implored the Walz administration to work with us to create demand instead of imposing supply. Build infrastructure, create incentives and work with retailers. Unfortunately, the Walz administration’s approach has been to choose a stick over a carrot.

We hope that a panel of cool-headed judges will put a stop to this error.

Scott Lambert is the president of the Minnesota Auto Dealers Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for its 365 franchised new car and truck dealer members.

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