California has pledged to stop buying vehicles from General Motors, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler Automobile for its government fleets after the automakers sided with President Donald Trump in the state’s fight to set its own fuel economy regulations.
Last month, GM, Toyota, FCA and a number of other major automakers joined the Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation, supporting the White House’s proposed fuel economy regulations freeze. Meanwhile, California wants to be able to set its own fuel economy standards and believes more relaxed standards will pose a threat to the environment.
The Trump Administration moved to revoke a waiver that would allow the state to set its own fuel economy regulations, prompting the state to file suit over the matter. When the Coalition Sustainable Automotive Regulation came out to support Trump’s looser regulations, California saw this as the automakers not supporting its rights to set its own fuel economy laws. Now, the state is punishing the automakers over the decision.
“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 Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
In July, California struck a deal with Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen, with the automakers agreeing to meet the state’s more stringent fleetwide fuel economy standards. Starting in January 2020, California will only purchase new vehicles for its fleets from these companies. According to Reuters, California purchased $69.2 million in vehicles from Ford between 2016 and 2018, along with $565,000 from Honda and none from BMW. It also purchased $58.6 million in fleet vehicles from GM during that three-year period, $55.8 million from FCA and $10.6 million from Toyota.
In a statement made to Reuters, a GM spokesperson said it was unfortunate that California will no longer purchase the Chevrolet Bolt EV and other American vehicles for its fleets.
“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 public policy communications director, Jeannine Ginivan.
The coalition that sided with Trump in the fuel economy row also included major automakers such as Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Isuzu, Maserati, McLaren, Aston Martin and Ferrari.
The Trump administration should release its official fuel economy requirements in the coming months, Reuters also reports. The Obama-era standards the White House is looking to roll back would have seen 5% annual increases to the fleetwide fuel economy standard between 2020 and 2026, whereas the Trump standards will likely see annual increases of about 1.5%. The current national standard requires automakers to have an average fuel economy of 26 mpg.