By on May 7, 2019

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]

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22 Comments on “Automotive Trade Group Hopes to Keep Colorado From Following California’s ZEV Rules...”

  • avatar

    I’m a fan of states rights, and if the good people of these locales want electrics, hydrogen, whatever, so be it.
    Maybe Colorado can pay Musk a couple billion to locate another Gigafactory for pickup trucks or electric snowmobiles or whatever.

    • 0 avatar

      What’s the point of having a federal government if you get groups of states that conspire to usurp legitimate federal authority?

      Want stiffer regulations? Win at the ballot box, but stop trying to create a patchwork of regulations that forces your laws and cost of doing business on states that aren’t trying the take authority that belongs to the federal government.

      Frankly, I would love to start seeing situations where the most appealing vehicles are simply not sold in CA and other places that are banding together with them. Give them detuned versions of everything and call it a day.

      • 0 avatar

        “What’s the point of having a federal government if you get groups of states that conspire to usurp legitimate federal authority?”

        All politics is local. What flies in CO, CA and/or NY, will probably be rejected in NM, TX, AZ…

        States can’t even agree on the 2nd Amendment, Open Carry vs Concealed.

        Disagreement on vehicles goes back a long way to where there were 49-State approved vehicles and CA-approved vehicles, and sales of them were limited to those two respective jurisdictions only, not interchangeably.

        • 0 avatar

          HDC, other than this past election, please Don’t say that CO is to CA as NM is to TX. I would say our Land of Enchantment neighbor to the south’s deep blue politics are much more inline with CA.

          After last night’s election results in Denver, the far left experiment on the Front Range Metro Area May be coming to a close. The left really went hog wild with their power grab and was exposed for who they were, Power Hungry progressives. SF, Seattle we are not.

          • 0 avatar

            What is this far left experiment you speak of. Dis someone attempt to do something for the homeless, support public education, or help the less fortunate – a breathless public wants to know.

          • 0 avatar

            CaddyDaddy, when NM had a Republican Latina Governor, things were drastically different and better than under the current Democrat.

            Priorities change with changing administrations.

            We are in a continuing process of cashing out of NM by selling off the real estate holdings first acquired by my wife’s dad. In time we hope to be able to semi-permanently relocate to Scottsdale, AZ and Ensenada, Baja California, Old Mexico.

            Even my Deep Blue Democrat wife has had it with NM politics.

        • 0 avatar

          Except that automobiles regulation is definitely interstate commerce. There are no cars made from parts entirely manufactured within a single state.

          California can regulate egg production within its own state. It can’t regulate eggs produced in Nevada.

          • 0 avatar

            You’re right. But CA can also prohibit eggs from NV from entering CA.

            At one time CA took measures against the importation of fruits and vegetables to prevent fruitflies.

            Then there’s the Alar controversy. Oh yeah, CA is so much fun to deal with.

      • 0 avatar

        see ‘states rights’ and ‘800-pound gorilla’ then tell us all about your issues with california…

      • 0 avatar

        The point of State Government was to keep the Federal Government “limited”. The purpose of our Constitution was to make sure we did not follow the same tired old path of millenniums of human history that has resulted in dictatorial centralized government.

        • 0 avatar

          In the early days of the Republic, the states claimed the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government. The Supreme court noted that state consitutions had to be in conformance with the federal constitution.

          You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand that the Commerce clause gives the federal government primacy in interstate commerce. Motor vehicles made in one or more states and sold in all states constitutes interstate commerce, giving the federal government primacy in regulation of the manufacture and sale of motor vehicles.

          The particular case of California having more stringent standards was limited to the Los Angeles basin and San Francisco bay area due to local atmospheric and topographical conditions, and was a privilege granted by the federal government, not intended to be applied statewide, and certainly not applying to manufacturers or their sales within the state.

  • avatar

    If it was up to me I would make ICE cars illegal immediately effective next month, I mean new car registrations. If you want you can keep your ICE vehicle but no new ICE vehicles will be allowed to be registered in California. If you do not like it you are free to move to Texas, it will solve out housing problem too. Why wait 30 years?

    • 0 avatar

      This would be great news for coal miners and fracking in the Inter Mountain West!

      • 0 avatar

        The largest growing energy sector employment is green – possibly the largest employer in states like Wyoming. Rental of land for wind generators is supporting many family ranches. Modern coal mining is 3 guys and a whole lot of TNT.

  • avatar

    On the face of it, there is noting wrong with trying to solve an existing problem with voluntary negotiation. It is why I give generously to Environmental Defense Fund – their first attempt is to always work with industry to try to find solutions that work without mandates. It is a method that can work well, but it is important to realize that the ever-present possibility of real regulations often help move the process along. Just like the way the existence of the UAW helps keep the transplant factories offering good wages while staying non-union.

    There are times however, that drive things on a local/state level that will not be (or should not be) addressed on a federal level. Hence the need for State Rights. I find it absolutely necessary that a given state has the authority to address problems that are an issue to them but may not be a problem elsewhere. Imagine telling a farmer in the midwest that it is necessary to reduce emissions from diesel farm/construction equipment. They would probably (rightly so) laugh at you. But 15 pieces of construction equipment packed into a city street replacing water mains does present a problem. Just like it did during the Big Dig in Mass. Hence local and state laws. It would be a grave mistake and an abuse of federal power to strip such rights from the states. But the present administration cares about one thing only: hyper wealthy people that are big donors to help their cause. You’d have to be asleep at the wheel to think otherwise.

  • avatar

    Why does CA not just apply the rules to itself that it wants and stop the stupidity of suing the feds? All they have to do is say “No”. Applying the doctrine of lesser magistrates they could do what they want, applying that “law/regulation” to their own citizens and leave the rest of the country alone. It would take broad support of their citizenry and the will to make it so.

    • 0 avatar

      You might well ask why the auto industry and the US govt. isn’t allowing them to do just that, as they have been doing – remember, this is a CHANGE in fed policy. CA isn’t asking for the whole country to do what it is doing – never has. It accounts for about 15% of all car sales in the US and faces unique pollution issues. If car makers can sell old tech for the same price, they will take that money and run.

  • avatar

    Off topic here.
    Hey Matt, is that photograph taken in Colorado? I have lived here all my life and do not recognize that particular vista.

  • avatar

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

  • avatar

    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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