Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who wants his state to adopt California’s clean car standards, drives a retro SUV that gets 11.4 miles per gallon.
Walz was recently spotted in a baby blue 1979 International Harvester Scout at the drive-through event that replaced the Minnesota State Fair. Both KARE 11 reporter Jennifer Austin and WCCO anchor Esme Murphy reported that a spokesperson said the vehicle is the governor’s only car. The SUV’s low gas mileage is reported by Fuelly, a website that tracks the fuel economy of various cars.
Isaac Orr from the Center of the American Experiment was among the first to point out the apparent contradiction between the governor’s policies and his choice of vehicle.
“Normally, what kind of car anyone drives, including the governor, would be none of our business. But Governor Walz has made it his business to tell Minnesotans what kind of cars they can drive by using the government bureaucracy to force Minnesota to comply with California car mandates,” Orr wrote in a recent post for the Center.
Orr was referring to Walz’s effort to adopt California’s standards for low or zero-emission vehicles. The regulations would require automakers to sell a certain percent of electric vehicles as part of their overall vehicle sales and meet a higher fuel-efficiency standard for all vehicles sold.
Walz first announced his plan to regulate auto emission standards via the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in 2019, and this effort remains a hotly contested issue between the auto industry and the state government.
If the Walz administration is successful in implementing its vision for Minnesota vehicle policy, the state “may reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by two million tons by 2030,” according to the governor himself. This marks a 1.3% reduction in overall state carbon emissions and a .01% reduction in the global total.
Meanwhile, the new regulations Walz seeks to implement are expected to cost Minnesota drivers an extra $2,500 per vehicle, according to an auto industry analysis referenced in a Duluth News Tribune column written by Orr.