On December 21, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) set forth its plans to amend the state’s clean air rules to adopt Low-Emission Vehicles (LEV) and Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV) standards, known as the Clean Cars Minnesota rule.  As described in MPCA’s Notice of Intent to Adopt Rules with a Hearing, the LEV standard would require automobile manufacturers to deliver for sale in Minnesota only those vehicles that can meet California’s more stringent greenhouse gas and other air pollutant emissions standards.  The ZEV standard would further require automobile manufacturers to deliver for sale in Minnesota a certain percentage of vehicles with no tailpipe emissions.  Automobile manufacturers could comply with the ZEV standard through the delivery of battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and hydrogen-fueled vehicles.  If approved, the rule would apply to new passenger cars and light trucks beginning in 2024.

The rule’s LEV standard will prohibit motor vehicle manufacturers from exceeding the fleet average non-methane organic gas plus oxides of nitrogen emission values and fleet average greenhouse gas emission values contained in the California Code of Regulations.  A vehicle manufacturer will have to submit an annual report to MPCA demonstrating that it did not exceed the fleet average emissions.

With respect to ZEVs, the rule will require that the fleet of passenger cars and light-duty trucks each vehicle manufacturer delivers for sale or lease in Minnesota contain a certain percentage of ZEVs.  Motor vehicle manufacturers would be able to earn early-action ZEV credits for delivering ZEVs for sale in Minnesota in model years 2022 and 2023.  These early-action ZEV credits can be used to meet the percentage requirement in 2024 or possibly transfer to other vehicle manufacturers who cannot generate enough ZEV credits to comply with the requirement.  Regardless of whether a motor vehicle manufacturer intends to bank early-action ZEV credits, it will need to open an account in the California ZEV credit system for banking credits earned in Minnesota and submit an annual report to MPCA that identifies the necessary delivery and placement data of all motor vehicles generating ZEV credits and all transfers and acquisitions of ZEV credits.

MPCA offers interested parties the opportunity to submit comments on the rule to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), either orally at the hearings or in writing prior to the close of the hearing record.  The hearings will take place on WebEx over two days, February 22 and 23, beginning at 3 p.m. and continuing until all parties are heard or until the ALJ adjourns the hearing.

If you would like assistance in preparing a comment on the Clean Cars Minnesota rule, please contact Thomas Braun at thomas.braun@stoel.com or 612-373-8835.