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California to stop buying from automakers that oppose its emissions rules

The state will soon stop buying vehicles from companies that have backed the Trump administration on the matter

Photo (c) marcovarro - Fotolia
California is once again pushing back against the Trump administration’s plan to revoke its ability to set its own emissions standards. The state has announced that it will soon ban all government purchases of cars from the four automakers who have sided with Trump on the issue. 

Starting in January, the state said it will only buy from automakers that have committed to upholding California’s more stringent emissions standards. 

Over the past several months, GM, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, and members of the Global Automakers trade association have agreed to get on board with the administration’s plan to introduce a “new and uniform standard” in the U.S. 

Meanwhile, Ford, Honda, BMW, and Volkwagen have gone in the opposite direction, committing to meeting California’s tougher standards instead of those proposed by the Trump administration. 

In a statement published Friday, the California Department of General Services (DGS) said its latest action is intended to help minimize the state government’s carbon footprint.

“Our state continues to lead by example by eliminating sedans solely powered by gas,” said DGS Director Daniel C. Kim. “This is one of many steps California has taken, and will continue to take, to drive demand for green vehicles. The nation looks to California to drive positive environmental change, and we will not waver from our commitment to that effort.”

California against Trump administration

As the battle over emissions continues, California officials have promised to fight to retain the state’s legal authority to implement clean car standards to help address the "extraordinary and compelling air pollution issues" affecting the state.  

California and 22 states recently filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which seeks to prevent the Trump administration from revoking its authority to set its own emission standards. 

“Car makers that have chosen to be on the wrong side of history will be on the losing end of California’s buying power,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted on Monday. “In court, and in the marketplace, California is standing up to those who put short-term profits ahead of our health and our future.”

GM responds

California purchased $58.6 million worth of vehicles from General Motors, $55.8 million from Fiat Chrysler, and $10.6 million from Toyota between 2016 and 2018, according to Reuters

A GM spokeswoman argued in a statement that stripping the state of its ability to buy the company’s electric Bolt would only detract from its mission of tackling pollution problems affecting the state.  

“Removing vehicles like the Chevy Bolt and prohibiting GM 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 GM shares,” said GM spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan. 

The Trump administration is currently considering requiring a 1.5 percent increase in fuel efficiency. Final requirements are expected to be announced by the end of the year.

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