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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Nathan Nelson (R)

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Friday, April 1, 2022

On consecutive days, House Democrats and Governor Walz’s administration made news regarding the same topic: implementing California fuel regulations in the State of Minnesota.


On Monday, the Minnesota House Climate and Energy Policy and Finance Committee held a hearing on legislation that would enact Clean Fuel Standards (CFS). The next day, the Walz Administration unveiled the Clean Fuels Standards report, which details the Governor’s plans to implement CFS.


The problem with these California regulations is that if they are put in place, gasoline prices would become even more expensive. Research shows that the CFS proposal would cause the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel to increase by 20 cents per gallon in the near term and up to 54 cents per gallon by 2035. The CFS would force the average Minnesota household to spend an additional $210 to $570 per year, every single year, at the pump. None of that money would go to road and bridge repair.  


With gasoline currently sitting at $4 per gallon depending on where you live in Minnesota, most residents would find another increase extremely problematic.


The report also indicated that the Walz administration may attempt to implement these new regulations via rulemaking — the same unilateral approach it took with California car regulations that add $1,000 or more to the cost of new vehicles.


As a lawmaker, I can tell you this approach is frustrating. We have the separation of powers for a reason. The legislature crafts and passes the bills, and the governor decides whether or not to sign them into law. I understand that some rulemaking within state agencies must occur but doing an end-around the legislature to significantly raise the cost of gasoline would be very troubling. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen.


I’ve heard from a good number of you who are sick and tired of paying more at the pump. Soaring fuel costs are a big problem these days, and I will continue exploring ways that will make it cheaper for you to fill up as opposed to supporting out-of-state alternatives that makes it even more expensive for you to drive.