California has always been at the forefront of U.S. states that try to minimize polution caused by vehicles, and it has just taken yet another bold step towards this direction. According to SacramentoBee, California’s state government announced on Friday that it has stopped buying gas-powered sedans as part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The directive by the state’s Department of General Services, which oversees purchasing and contracts for California state government, exempts public safety vehicles. The department did not respond by deadline to requests for clarification about the order’s extent. The new rules also require that, starting next year, state agencies only buy vehicles from manufacturers that recognize California’s ability to set its own air pollution standards, a power the Trump administration is trying to revoke.
California, along with 22 other states, is challenging that attempt in court and has struck deals with several car manufacturers who say they will comply with California’s standards in spite of the Trump administration’s efforts to roll them back.
“Car makers that have chosen to be on the wrong side of history will be on the losing end of California’s buying power,” Newsom said in a written statement. “In court, and in the marketplace, California is standing up to those who put short-term profits ahead of our health and our future.”
California’s state vehicle fleet includes about 51,000 cars and trucks, according to Newsom’s office. A little more than 3,000 of those vehicles were hybrids or zero-emission vehicles as of last year, according to the Department of General Services. The state had already begun to step up its purchasing of zero-emissions and hybrid vehicles under former Governor Jerry Brown, who signed orders in 2012 and 2016 directing the state to buy more of them.
“Our state continues to lead by example by eliminating sedans solely powered by gas,” Department of General Services Director Daniel Kim said in a written statement. “This is one of many steps California has taken, and will continue to take, to drive demand for green vehicles.”
Car makers that have sided with California on the matter include Honda, Ford, BMW and Volkswagen, while General Motors, Toyota, Mazda and FCA have aligned themselves with the Trump administration.
The Association of Global Automakers and the Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation — a group including GM, Toyota, Mazda, Fiat Chrysler and Mitsubishi — split with the four automakers that had agreed to follow the tougher rules imposed by California. The coalition said it simply wants to avoid a two-track system in which carmakers have to follow one set of rules for California, and the states that are supporting its standards, and another set of rules imposed by the federal government. Such a scenario would create chaos in the industry, the group argued.
Now the ball is on President Trump’s turf – and something tells us he’s not gonna take long to respond to the state’s decision.