Consumer choice should determine future vehicle market

To the editor:

Farmers like me understand the importance of protecting our beautiful environment by combating climate change, but we also know tying our state’s vehicle standards to California’s regulations makes little sense. We have little in common with California, which is why aligning Minnesota’s vehicle standards with the Golden State in hopes of reducing greenhouse gases in transportation by 30% by 2025 is not the right approach.

New rules requiring about a quarter of vehicles on Minnesota auto lots in 2025 to be electric vehicles limits customer options. This would mean more than 65,000 zero emissions vehicles would be forced onto car lots, about triple the number that have been sold in Minnesota since 2011. Other products using combustion engines, including snowmobiles, watercraft, and even leaf blowers and lawnmowers, are also subject to the rule.

More than two in three Minnesotans said that goals for reducing transportation-related emissions, decreasing vehicle miles traveled, and increasing the number of electric cars and light trucks on Minnesota roads all go too far. Those results come from a survey conducted by the administration’s own Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Then there’s the obvious costs. The government’s own analysis shows Minnesotans would pay more than $1,100 more per vehicle under the new rule.

Those strong feelings are part of the reason why the “Minnesota Consumer Choice For Fuel Act,” has been so well received. The legislation, if adopted, would repeal the new mandate and ensure that Minnesota lawmakers, not those elected in California, are the ones setting vehicle policy. This means Minnesotans would be free to choose the kind of vehicle that best fits their lifestyle. This is especially true for farmers and those living in rural areas, where electric vehicles might make little sense or even be incapable of getting the job done. After all, our state’s rate of pick-up trucks and SUVs already stands at 82% compared to California’s 55%, strong evidence that our vehicle market and preferences are vastly different. The state’s sizable snowmobile sector, one that stands 220,000 strong today, would be in the crosshairs as well, impacting a beloved activity that creates an impact of around $1 billion dollars annually in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Consumer Choice For Fuel Act remedies this potential threat by ensuring that customers have the right to choose whatever vehicle type they prefer, allowing consumer choice to set the market instead of rule makers in California.Tying Minnesota’s vehicle future to California makes little sense, a message being sent loud and clear by the public. There are much better ways for Minnesota to do its part on climate change.

Wanda Patsche



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