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Reproduced from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; Chart: Axios Visuals

With an administrative judge giving Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and the Pollution Control Agency authority to implement clean cars' emission rules, there's fresh hope that the state will see an even steeper rise in electric vehicle sales.

How it works: The initiative would require manufacturers to deliver more EVs and hybrids. Minnesota would become the 15th state to adopt such rules.

Context: Minnesota has a very small number of EVs on the roads — just 18,759 as of February, or about 1 in every 400 cars, according to PCA data.

  • Their popularity is growing. In 2018, EVs accounted for 1 out of every 100 new vehicle sales, according to evadoption.
  • But that still lags way behind California and Washington, where 1 out of 13 and 1 out of 23 new vehicles sold were electric, respectively.

Supporters of the "clean cars" rules say forcing dealers to carry more EVs will lead to more sales, though dealers argue it will stick them with unpopular cars that don't sell.

  • "There are 40 or so models of EVs out right now, but at any given time you might find less than half of them available in Minnesota. That's because the states that have these clean car rules are the ones that are getting the most vehicles," Paul Austin of Conservation Minnesota told Axios.

Yes, but: A 2020 Consumer Reports survey indicated that EV availability is not even close to being the biggest factor holding Minnesotans back from going electric.

  • Only 10% of those surveyed cited lack of options as a factor.
  • 50% said the cost was too high, 43% cited a lack of public charging stations and 36% said the range was a concern.

What's next: While increasing the number of EVs for sale might solve a small piece of the puzzle, it still faces an uncertain future.

  • Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria) said his caucus will shut down state parks by not passing an environmental budget if Walz and the MPCA don't back back down, according to the Star Tribune.
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Go deeper

Updated 23 mins ago - Science

NTSB probes deadly Alabama crash as storms lash Southeast and Midwest

Flash-flooding in Bloomington, Indiana, on Saturday. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday that it's sent a team to Alabama to help investigate a fiery multi-vehicle crash that killed 10 people, including nine children.

The big picture: Saturday's crash, south of Montgomery, occurred amid a tropical depression that left 13 people dead in Alabama as it triggered flash floods and tornadoes that razed "dozens of homes" in the Southeast over the weekend, per AP. Parts of the Midwest were also badly hit, including Indiana and Chicago, where a tornado struck late Sunday.

Laurel Hubbard to become 1st openly trans athlete to compete at Olympics

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, when she became the first openly transgender athlete to represent NZ. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced that Laurel Hubbard has been selected for the women's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games — making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event.

The big picture: Hubbard, 43, is part of a five-member Kiwi weightlifting team and will compete in the women's super heavyweight category. Meanwhile, BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe will become the first openly trans athlete to travel to the Olympics with Team USA, when she arrives in Tokyo as a reserve rider.

American Airlines cuts hundreds of flights amid demand surge

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

American Airlines announced Sunday that it's cutting some 950 flights from its schedule, including 296 this weekend, to reduce potential pressure on its operations, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Driving the news: The U.S. vaccine rollout has led to a massive increase in travel bookings. The airline noted in an emailed statement that it's facing an "incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand."