It started with California. It won't end there.
Last September, the state of California began something that's becoming a domino effect. On the hood of a new Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Golden State's governor, Gavin Newsom, signed an executive ordering banning sales of new passenger vehicles with an internal combustion engine beginning in 2035. California's quest to become an EV-only state quickly began to spread. Several other states, including Washington State, Colorado, Connecticut, Colorado, Main, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Massachusetts, want to adopt a similar measure. And now they're being joined by Minnesota.
According to the Star Tribune, a Minnesota administrative judge has determined the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) can adopt new "clean car" rules that would require manufacturers to offer more EVs and hybrids to consumers.
Equally important, the ruling states the agency can bypass the state legislature to enact these new rules. Not surprisingly, this sparked an immediate backlash. One Republican state senator has threatened to shut down the state's environmental agencies by refusing to pass their budgets if they decide to move forward with any sort of vehicle ban. This same lawmaker has asked Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to ban the MPCA from adopting new emissions standards for the next two years. The MPCA refuses to back down.
"Minnesota's clean car standards are a common-sense way we can support innovation and clean technology jobs while fostering a better climate and giving consumers more choice," said a spokesperson.
This will undoubtedly be a closely watched battle because Minnesota could become the first Midwestern state to adopt California's standards. This could, theoretically, begin a chain reaction in the region that might see Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin soon propose their own ICE bans. The Midwest, of course, is the heart of America's auto industry where the likes of GM and Ford have several factories.
The Biden administration has reversed a Trump ban on letting California set its own emissions standards. The federal Clean Air Act allows states to either go by federal emissions standards or California's stricter rules. It's illegal for states to write their own.