Minnesota car dealers are taking new legal action to stop Gov. Tim Walz's "clean car" rules, a central part of the state's climate change strategy.

Modeled after California's standards, the new rules will require automakers to deliver more all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to Minnesota so buyers have more to choose from on the sales lot. The state hopes that will speed the transition to electric vehicles and reduce pollution from transportation, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota. The requirements take effect Jan. 1, 2024, for 2025 models.

The Minnesota Auto Dealers Association has long opposed the rules as regulatory overreach, fearing dealers will get stuck with unsold inventory that they will have to buy themselves.

On Wednesday, the industry group petitioned the state Court of Appeals to overturn the requirements, which the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) adopted in 2021. The group argues that the state isn't allowed to adopt the California standards and that the MPCA didn't have the authority to adopt them without going to the Legislature.

In 2021, a federal judge dismissed a similar lawsuit from the group, essentially ruling that the auto dealers jumped the gun — they couldn't claim imminent harm because the rule hadn't even been adopted yet.

Minnesota's dealers are frustrated, association president Scott Lambert said in an interview. The MPCA and the governor's office have ignored their concerns, he said, and for two sessions the Democrat-led House has ignored them, too. The administrative law judge who affirmed the MPCA's authority to adopt the clean car rules "got it wrong," Lambert said.

"The mandates that the California rules are going to place on our dealers are simply not workable," he said.

The MPCA insists there is adequate demand for electric vehicles.

"While the agency reviews this new legal action, we are confident that the clean car standards, developed through authority granted by the Legislature and approved by a judge, will stand," said MPCA spokesman Darin Broton .

The clash over the rule could pop up in this year's race for governor. Walz, a Democrat, championed the rule as part of his push to address climate change. Scott Jensen, the Republican Party-endorsed candidate to challenge Walz in November, posted a video on YouTube opposing the electric vehicle requirements, but the issue has not emerged as a major campaign theme for him.