Automotive Trade Group Hopes to Keep Colorado From Following California's ZEV Rules

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

It’s no secret that California plans to ignore any federal ruling that soften emissions regulations on automobiles. The state’s already suing the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the data used to justify the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of vehicle emission standards. It has also recruited leadership in other states to join the cause and adopt its zero-emission-vehicle strategy.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis has already signed an executive order directing the state to follow California’s path — joining with Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and other participating states toward a common cause. However, the battle isn’t over yet. Industry lobbyist are hard at work changing minds, and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) seems to be making progress with Colorado.

The group is attempting to convince the state not to follow California, Instead, it wants Colorado to work with the industry to find an avenue bettor tailored to the state’s specific needs. Time is short. Polis’ order stipulates that May is the month his state establishes formal rules to adopt its new emissions program. Meanwhile, automakers have decided to help the region explore “an alternative program that would help Colorado achieve its goals sooner,” as per a series of letters recovered by Reuters.

From Reuters:

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Co and others, met with Polis on April 15 in a bid to convince him that voluntary efforts to boost electric vehicles make more sense.

The group said in an April 29 letter seen by Reuters that its members would agree to make all EVs available for sale in Colorado that are on sale in California by January 2020 and commit to additional marketing efforts for EVs.

The auto group also pledged to work with Colorado to allow consumers to take advantage of a $5,000 state purchase incentive at the point of sale by taking on the assignment of the credit at the time of sale.

On Monday, Colorado state officials told automaker they see a “real opportunity to work together.” The state plans to proceed with an initial hearing on the mandate this week while continuing “discussions about a possible ZEV alternative on a parallel path.”

However, the AAM will still face an uphill battle, even if Colorado abandons the Golden State’s plan. California has 17 other states willing to oppose any federal mandate that strips it of its power to self-regulate or reduce existing emission guidelines.

The Trump administration’s current proposal suggests freezing fuel efficiency standards at 2020 levels through 2026 and disallowing California from deploying its own vehicle emission rules, but it’s proven hesitant to pull the trigger. The EPA has even said it will reassess the existing plan before unveiling a final regulation in the coming months.

[Image: Joey Reuteman/Shutterstock]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Probert Probert on May 08, 2019

    Nice to see VW always working in the public interest. Are their execs lobbying from prison via teleconferencing?

  • HotPotato HotPotato on May 11, 2019

    GM and VW really cannot decide which side of their mouths to talk out of, can they? Are they leaders in clean cars, or leaders in quashing them? I will say this though: their proposal of a point-of-sale credit makes vastly more sense than a tax credit. People have no idea how a tax credit is going to end up working for their particular tax situation, so it ends up being a weak motivator even if it's a big number. Cash on the hood, though -- that always works.

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  • Tassos Generally I prefer that exploited labor remain domestic like in the service and trade industries. Given the complex and global integration of supply chains and materials sourcing I accept that most manufacturing must be managed by foreign 'kapos'.
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