Thirteen local chambers of commerce ask Walz to stop California car mandates

Thirteen local chambers of commerce have signed a letter to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to stop, or at least delay, the administration’s plan to force California car mandates on Minnesota families and businesses.

As American Experiment detailed in its 46-page comments fighting the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s imposition of these rules, the regulations will increase the cost of driving in Minnesota for zero measurable environmental benefits. In fact, the impact the rules would have on future global temperatures is so small the MPCA doesn’t want to tell you how little impact it would have.

Border towns are especially worried, because increasing prices in Minnesota will likely mean that fewer people will cross the border into the land of 10,000 lakes to buy a new car.

On the other hand, the California car mandates will prevent Minnesotans from buying a new car in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota or Wisconsin because the rules will not allow you to register a non-California-compliant car with fewer than 7,500 miles on the odometer.

You can read the letter from the chambers below.

May 25, 2021
The Honorable Tim Walz
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Dear Governor Walz:

We, the undersigned Chamber of Commerce leaders across Minnesota that serve border communities, write today in firm opposition to the proposed “Clean Cars” policy and respectfully request that your administration forestall or at least delay its implementation of this rule.

The considerable price increase caused by the rule would fall hardest on Minnesota’s border communities. Auto dealers in our communities will incur a severe competitive disadvantage to dealers just across the border who have not adopted California’s air emissions standards.

As we are sure you know, this policy will increase the cost of all vehicles in Minnesota by an estimated average of over $1,100 per vehicle, according to the MPCA. Other estimates put that number even higher. The price increase on Minnesota vehicles runs directly counter to what’s needed to rebuild our local economies from the devastation wrought by the pandemic. Neighbors from across our borders who might otherwise come to Minnesota to shop for a new vehicle would be highly unlikely to continue shopping here since vehicles will be significantly cheaper in Wisconsin, Iowa, and North and South Dakota.

None of this is to say that we are unwilling to work with your administration to promote vehicles with cleaner emissions profiles. We believe that there are other options to put cleaner cars, including more EV’s, on the road. The relatively high cost of EV’s and lack of infrastructure to support their rapid deployment are policies that we can and should be working to address today, prior to considering mandates that force unneeded supply on our local auto dealers.

We are not sure what part of the state, if any, would benefit from this rule being imposed, but we are confident that our border communities, and greater Minnesota in general, stands to lose significantly. The Legislature, at a minimum, must be involved in any revision to a policy with this dramatic an impact on our communities. Evidence of this can be seen in the opposition to the “Clean Cars” rule by most major farm and commodity groups, and dozens of local chambers of commerce and other business groups across Greater Minnesota.

This is a serious issue for our communities. It is NOT about support or opposition to EV’s. We support EV’s where there is a market and infrastructure, or where there is a federal rule, so all states are in accordance with the same standards and Minnesota is not at a disadvantage with its regional neighbors.

We appreciate the tremendous stress that your office has had to bear during the pandemic. But, in this instance, we hope that your office will adopt a similar appreciation for the pressure faced by our border communities as we get back to building “One Minnesota” that works for everyone. That challenge is needlessly exacerbated by “Clean Cars,” and we hope you will reconsider.


Ada Chamber of Commerce
Austin Area Chamber of Commerce
Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce
Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce
Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce
Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce
Fergus Falls Area Chamber of Commerce
Hermantown Area Chamber of Commerce
Luverne Area Chamber of Commerce
Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber Grand Forks & East Grand Forks
Winona Area Chamber of Commerce
White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce

CC: Commissioner Laura Bishop, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka
Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman
Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt
Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen
Representative Rick Hansen