Message: Discriminatory Electric Vehicle Authorization Facts in Minnesota – InForum

As of last summer, Minnesota is now officially the first Midwestern state to adopt California’s zero-emissions vehicle program, a mandate led by Governor Tim Walz. The desired goal of this program is to increase the sale and consumption of electric vehicles in Minnesota to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This government-directed mandate will place a condition on the amount of electric vehicles that are bought and sold in Minnesota auto yards. Unfortunately, the unknown outcome of this state would be discrimination and, eventually, the elimination of ethanol and biofuel-based vehicles in Minnesota. The effects would be economically disastrous for the soybean and corn farmers in our state.

First, there are financial and practical challenges with the new electric vehicle mandate. Some Minnesota officials, including Walz, claim that electric cars will save consumers money. Unfortunately, the opposite will happen. Electric vehicles are estimated to cost up to $16,000 more than a typical internal combustion engine vehicle. However, it is not the cars themselves that will cost more. With the influx of electric cars, comes the growing need for electric infrastructure. To generate the electricity needed to charge all these new cars, countless charging stations would have to be built and placed across the state. Minnesota’s leadership claims that consumers will not have to pay for this infrastructure, but this is not the case. The costs associated with new electric vehicle infrastructure will inevitably affect consumers, as taxpayer money will be required for new charging stations.

Closer to home for me personally, the agricultural community in Minnesota will be negatively affected by the new state. Minnesota is a leading grower of soybeans and corn. In order to keep our farms running, we need broad access to vehicles that can move our crops from point A to point B, under any condition. If Minnesota residents now had to increase the use of electric vehicles, our crop production could end up diminishing. To maintain productivity, we won’t have time to stop and charge the car instead of quickly refueling as usual. While this might work for Californians, who don’t depend on agriculture like the rest of us, it won’t work in a state like Minnesota.

The electric grid that will power these new electric vehicles isn’t as clean as you think. Dr. Eileen Wald of the Atlantic Council noted, “According to the US Energy Information Administration’s Hourly Electrical Grid Monitor, electricity generation in Minnesota can lead to significant air pollution. Take a close day for example: February 21, 2021. On that day, the 50% of all Minnesota’s electricity needs are met by burning coal. Thus, a Minnesota resident may be running her electric car largely on coal, a much dirtier fuel than gasoline.” Having to go back to using coal to recharge batteries is directly counterproductive to the point of switching to electric cars in the first place.

Fortunately for the people of Minnesota, we have a natural resource at our disposal that can help meet their energy, electricity and fuel requirements. This resource is soybeans. Soybeans are a major crop in Minnesota, and they can be harvested to produce biodiesel. Biodiesel has been proven to be an environmentally friendly form of fuel. The Environmental Protection Agency has found that biodiesel is the only biofuel with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50%. Much of the biodiesel used in Minnesota is grown from Minnesota’s soybeans, and biodiesel plants in the state produce about 85 million gallons of biodiesel each year.

The soybean sector in Minnesota is a booming industry that needs support. Once the electric vehicle mandate goes into effect, it will reduce the need for the soybean-based biodiesel industry. To make matters worse, top government officials in our state are pushing for the electric vehicle mandate, even though some of their past positions on biofuels conflict with their current actions.

The governor claims to support our ethanol and biofuel industry. He even went so far as to write a recent letter to President Biden on behalf of the Conservative Biofuels Alliance expressing his support. In the letter, Walz asked Biden to make “biofuels a key component of addressing transportation sector emissions,” noting that it is essential to the transition to carbon-neutral vehicles, as well as providing economic benefits across America. So why push to mandate this electric vehicle that would undermine the deployment of biofuels and ethanol for transportation? By calling for a move to 100% electric cars to be sold by Minnesota auto dealers, our state’s biofuel industry will eventually be wiped out. Countless jobs will be lost and the revenue they bring in will be significantly reduced.

Walz needs to be more in touch with the realities and needs of our state and our farming community before doing more harm to Minnesota’s soybean farmers.

Depp Wallen is the former president of the Minnesota Agri-Women Company.

This message does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the forum’s editorial board nor the opinion of the forum’s ownership.

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