Nov 19, 2019 - Energy & Environment

California won't buy from automakers who side with Trump on emissions

Traffic backs up at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toll plaza along Interstate 80 on July 25

Traffic backs up at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toll plaza along Interstate 80 in July. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California confirmed Monday that it won't buy new government vehicles from automakers who backed President Trump in his carbon emissions war with the state, the New York Times reports. GM, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota are among those set to be affected by the move.

Driving the news: The three big automakers and others announced in October that they were joining the Trump administration's side in litigation over its move to stop California from imposing emissions rules and, by proxy, mileage requirements that are tougher than federal standards, per Axios' Ben Geman.

The big picture: The California Department of General Services said in a statement published late Friday that, effective immediately, it would "prohibit purchasing by state agencies of any sedans solely powered by an internal combustion engine, with exemptions for certain public safety vehicles" — it would only buy electric or hybrid vehicles.

  • Just below that policy announcement was another stating that from Jan. 1 next year, it would "recognize the California Air Resources Board (CARB)'s authority to set greenhouse gas and zero emission vehicle standards, and which have committed to continuing stringent emissions reduction goals for their fleets."

Between the lines: While the announcement doesn't name the big three automakers that sided with Trump, "the new policy amounts to ban on state purchases of vehicles made by those companies and a handful of others, represented by the lobbying group Global Automakers, a spokesman for Mr. Newsom confirmed" to NYT.

What they're saying: "Carmakers that have chosen to be on the wrong side of history will be on the losing end of California's buying power," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement first released to Calmatters.

  • While the White House, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler have yet to comment on California's move, GM spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan issued a statement to the Times:
"Removing vehicles like the Chevy Bolt and prohibiting G.M. and other manufacturers from consideration will reduce California’s choices for affordable, American-made electric vehicles and limit its ability to reach its goal of minimizing the state government’s carbon footprint, a goal that G.M. shares."
— Ginivan's statement to the NYT

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