By on November 19, 2019

Just when you thought the gas war couldn’t get any wilder, California has announced it will ban the purchase of any vehicle manufactured by a company that doesn’t explicitly recognize the state’s ability to set its own emission regulations.

Starting in January, California plans to purchase any-and-all government fleet vehicles from only Ford, Honda, BMW, and Volkswagen Group — companies that backed a voluntary agreement to adhere to the state’s emission rules over the summer. The pact is now the subject of a federal antitrust probe.

Any automaker publicly supporting a single national standard (or having recently expressed support for the Trump administration’s fuel rollback proposal) will be deemed ineligible for fleet consideration. “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.

California also said it would no longer allow state agencies to purchase sedans powered by internal combustion engines, effective immediately. Minor exceptions would be made for some safety vehicles, but the rest will be electrified (or at least hybridized).

Unless you count the handful of BMW i3s Los Angeles purchased for its police department (which reportedly sit idle) and a bevy of BMW police motorcycles, California doesn’t have much of a history with European products. Automotive News reports that the state purchased $69.2 million in vehicles from Ford and $565,000 from Honda in the three years leading up to 2019.

From Automotive News:

Between 2016 and 2018, California purchased $58.6 million in vehicles from General Motors, $55.8 million from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles $10.6 million from Toyota Motor Corp. and $9 million from Nissan Motor Co .

Last month, GM, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and members of the Global Automakers trade association backed the Trump administration’s effort to bar California from setting tailpipe standards, which are more rigid than Washington’s proposed national standards.

The automakers declined or did not immediately comment on California’s announced ban on purchases of their vehicles.

They’re likely waiting to see what the final rollback proposal looks like, but we’ve all been waiting while California continues amassing strength. Several lawsuits have emerged against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, aimed at maintaining California’s regulatory sovereignty, and the state has allied itself with 13 others that have each agreed to its tailpipe emissions.

[Image: Beach Media/Shutterstock]

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103 Comments on “A New Twist: California Bans Gov. Purchasing of Most Auto Brands...”


  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Stuck on stupid!!!!

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Total and complete idiots.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    CARB’s standards incorporate Obama’s footprint scheme that eliminates affordable cars while minimizing actual fuel consumption reductions.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Not going to wade into the political side of this.

    But I am honestly shocked that California was/is still buying ICE vehicles. Just given the rhetoric of the debate over standards, the fact that Tesla is headquartered there, and the nature of how government vehicles are used. Figured that change had been done years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      When ICEs are about half the cost to purchase and provide greater utility, and infrastructure, like fueling islands are existing, while charging stations are not, I don’t find it shocking…..

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The City of Seattle bought a whole bunch of Bolts at a very steep discount for the parts of its motor pool that just involve various bureaucrats driving around the city to meetings. But there are plenty of city workers who can’t use a Bolt, and the city also has a whole bunch of hybrid and gas cars and trucks for them.

        • 0 avatar
          R Henry

          Great…but fleet model Chevy Cruze’s could have been acquired for a whole lot less and would have provided more utility….

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The TCO for Bolts is most likely lower given that the city runs the local electric utility and doesn’t have to pay itself for power. (It would probably still be lower even if the city paid itself our local rates, which are very low, because we have cheap hydropower.)

          • 0 avatar
            R Henry

            It would be an interesting analysis. I wonder if the City of Seattle did that analysis, or simply purchased Bolts to “Save the Earth?”

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I expect the city did the analysis but might well have bought Bolts even if it came back that the TCO was a bit higher. They were early adopters of the first gen Prius and have mostly used Priuses and C-Max Hybrids since, until the Bolts came around last year.

            It is worth noting that these cars are very intensively used in almost totally city driving, so fueling costs matter a lot.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I disagree that many of the City of Seattle Vehicles are intensively used. Just last wee there were a few 2010 Escape Hybrids and they had 50-60k miles on them. Many of the trucks that head to auction also are being sent to auction well before they have scratched the surface of their useful life with very low miles for the age.

            So yeah they may have someone run a study but they really don’t care about keeping the cost of their vehicles low. Otherwise they would have fewer cars, like they preach, and they would actually get a significant portion of their useful life before sending them to auction.

          • 0 avatar
            R Henry

            In 2006, I worked as a salesman for a firm which sold auto shop supplies…a few of my customers were Air Force and Navy bases with large fleet maintenance facilities.

            I will never forget one of my visits with the Sergeant in charge of the Vandenberg AFB facility. We were looking out the window, and saw an approaching convoy of 6 full size car carriers, each loaded with 9 new Pontiac G8 sedans. The Sergeant did a facepalm…explaining that he did not order these new fleet cars…but they were being sent to him anyway. He explained that he already had 20 general purpose fleet cars in his collection that were 5 years old but had fewer than 5,000 miles. His frustration was the sense of waste…and that he had very little control over of what he had been assigned to manage. My frustration, as a taxpayer…was a tad more furious…….

    • 0 avatar
      Imagefont

      I was doing some work in San Fransisco last year, the government sedans (sedans btw, not suv’s, or technically “passenger cars” and “light trucks”, which are the only two vehicle categories that have any actual meaning). They had a couple of Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids. That kind of vehicle would qualify, it wouldn’t have to be a pure EV.
      EV’s are stupid, they should buy hybrids.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I’ve often wondered why the Post Office doesn’t seem interested in EVs, they just seem a natural for that type of duty. I mean they don’t have to go 0-60 in 4 seconds, but those little trucks could go all day long with a small electric motor and a good battery. If the federal government or the state of California doesn’t think EVs are a good value why should we?

  • avatar
    R Henry

    “Car makers that have chosen to be on the wrong side of history”

    –As if history unfolds in a straight, linear progression.

    Perhaps CA forgot that the fall of Rome, then the world’s preeminent civilization, brought the Dark Ages…500+ years of misery, plague, and pestilence. Such ignorant and arrogant rhetoric is deeply depressing coming from the leaders of one of our nation’s most important states. One would think, with the third-world-ization of urban San Fran and LA, that leaders might be a bit more pragmatic.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Nothing to see here, all part of the planned implosion.

      I also find the Real ID thing interesting because they are now going to be restricting travel if you don’t have one (although that may turn out to be a nothing burger, we’ll see).

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        Ironic you mention RealID. I just returned from DMW to complete my RealID app!

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          In Wisconsin our driver’s license became a “RealID” years ago, are other states not combining the IDs with driver’s licenses?

          • 0 avatar
            R Henry

            In CA, perhaps because illegal aliens can have driver licenses, a process has been created to add Real ID status to our licenses. I needed to provide my SS card, my passport, and two documents establishing my physical address–I used a utility bill and a mortgage bill.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            That’s how it worked here in Wi. but I had to bring in my birth certificate. It’s all combined on the one driver’s license, though

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @R Henry

            Sounds a bit invasive. I’ve been using my passport for everything, I had to dig up a birth certificate for it and I don’t really feel like doing that again.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        If you have your passport, you good

        • 0 avatar
          6250Claimer

          I carry a passport card, which is a $35 option when you get/renew a passport, or can be added if you already have a current one. It qualifies as Real ID at airports etc. But you can’t use it to cross the border or enter other countries, with some exceptions – like crossing into Mexico on foot or by car is ok.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    It is not a good sign for American society when political retribution is exacted using public funds.

    • 0 avatar
      Whatnext

      I agree..what Trump tried to do with Ukraine is shocking.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        I do not seek to stir up political heat here. Note I did not use names or party…I just commented on policies. If you want to combine intense partisan politics with your cars, Jalopnik is great for that….and is precisely why I don’t go there anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        So you think that asking for a legal investigation, done by the relevant legal authorities is somehow illegal?

        And of course you think that Biden illegally _stopping_ relevant legal authorities from investigating is ok?

        But there is no talking sensibly with your kind, you’re on a holy mission.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Dude, since you know nothing about Ukraine, keep it low

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        What, overthrow the Yanukovych regime just after signing a favorable naval treaty with Moscow, Ukrainian gold going missing around the same time, and starting a proxy war in Eastern Ukraine which has killed 13,000 people and led to the downing of MH370?

        Oh wait that was… 2013. Silly me.

        #factshurtmybrain

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euromaidan

        https://military.wikia.org/wiki/17_December_2013_Ukrainian–Russian_action_plan

        https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-11-18/ukraine-admits-its-gold-gone

        https://www.rferl.org/a/death-toll-up-to-13-000-in-ukraine-conflict-says-un-rights-office/29791647.html

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    As I’ve said many times before you guys down south are building your wall along the wrong border.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    California does have the right to decide what vehicles it buys on a state level which the Federal Government does as well for the Federal fleet. As for county and municipal they still have a choice unless California provides funding for those vehicles. Might not agree and might think this is stupid but a state has the right to determine who they buy from and what they buy unless there are Federal funds used for those purchases.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      I don’t question CA’s right to choose which vehicles it buys. I do question its criteria however. As a CA State taxpayer, I don’t want my tax money used to send political messages. I want the State to use my tax dollars to purchase vehicles which provide the greatest utility for a given application at at the lowest total cost. Given CA’s tremendous internal problems, using State funds to poke fingers in corporate eyes is a breach fiduciary responsibility.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        They don’t know the meaning of fiduciary responsibility. I love California, and I think it’s a beautiful state – I just wish it wasn’t getting so screwed up.

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        California doesnt care the least about you as a taxpayer. Neither does Illinois. I truly believe that the elected politicians not only dont care about the taxpayers in these states, but actually have in ingrained contempt for the public that they are elected to serve.

        I agree that this is a breach of fiduciary responsibility. Pretty much all major automakers, including GM, Ford and Toyota, are in agreement with a common federal standard. So is Hyundai/Kia. This doesnt leave the nanny state many options for fleet purchases.

    • 0 avatar
      No Nickname Required

      They do have the right to buy from whichever automakers they choose. They could even convert to horse power if they choose. But this reminds me of people who announce all over social media that they are quitting social media. It makes me laugh.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I think Gov. Newsom is running for God Emperor of All Mankind with lunatic statements such as those. Has to be the cocaine, he never struck me as a pothead.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Commiefornia is the psych ward of the United States.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “The wrong side of history”? Lol.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    “I think Gov. Newsom is running for God Emperor of All Mankind with lunatic statements such as those.”

    Then as a citizen vote against him.

    Agree this is a political agenda and a waste of taxpayer dollars but until enough people vote against politicians that do these things then this is what you get.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I wish I could but there are too many dead Californians voting that it would cancel mine out.

      The consequence of a one party state is you get extremes as we have been seeing since 2016 (and really before but it wasn’t as apparent I think).

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        California’s elections are some of the cleaner ones in the country. I expect you’re a lot more likely to have dead voters in Pennsylvania.

        https://www.electoralintegrityproject.com/peius2018

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Per The Public Policy Institute of California, the state is host to two million illegal aliens. I don’t believe for a second a percentage of them have not voted in a state or federal election, which is election fraud. What the percentage is and how the precincts are currently regulated, I cannot say.

          https://www.ppic.org/publication/undocumented-immigrants-in-california/

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Why would a person here illegally risk voting when it would just increase the likelihood that they would attract notice? They are trying as hard as they can to fly under the radar.

            I’m sure there’s always a few in a population of 2 million but I think it’s highly implausible that there are enough to move even a close election.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I get it that you watch CBS and think all the terrorists are ‘alt-right,’ but is there no limit to your ability to shut out reality? California illegals in the shadows? American flags are banned in California public schools and Mexican flags are celebrated. My California-public-school teacher ex-girlfriend had students wandering into class for the first three weeks of the year, because they spend their summers in their native Mexico and don’t know when the school year starts. My Pacific Beach poling station had more non-English speaking illegals clogging up the voting lines than there were Mexicans commuting to Pacific Beach for work. A Pacific Beach public school I used to walk past on my way to work had Baja California license plates throughout the pick-up line, as American citizens in my zip-code could afford to send their kids to private schools while the teachers unions are dependent on the illegal head-count. The only illegals hiding in California have accidentally killed the families of Democrat politicians.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            Illegal alien votes are a drop in the bucket. It’s the legal alien vote that drowned them.

            45% of Californians don’t speak English at home.

    • 0 avatar

      Newsom is not lunatic – he is a shrewd politician. Those who elected him and rest of his “team” are lunatics.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Funny, I don’t see Tesla in that list.

  • avatar
    Snooder

    Huh, i just thought of something.

    How awesome would the Mustang Mach-E be as a police vehicle? Lots of torque, cheap maintenance, nice big screen to replace the in car computer and free up space.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      The thing is, how many miles do they rack up in a shift? I’m thinking they’d need charging “breaks” during a shift.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The average state patrol car going to auction in my state has just over 100k on the clock and has been around 4-6 years. So worst case scenario 4 years is 1000 working days or about 100 miles per day. So the standard range model should do just fine even with loss for heating and running all of the electronics and some range degradation. Now of course we have a 1-man 1-car state. A city or county that hot seats their cars might not cut it unless the donut house has DCFCs.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          We all know police don’t idle their engines all day long to keep the A/C blowing cold or the heat blowing warm. They just drive 12 miles each hour and spend the other half of the hour stewing in their juices or freezing stoically.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            And sitting there with the engine on to keep that HVAC, computers and radios running is what wastes so much fuel on an ICE powered car. Yes the EV will need to provide that energy but only what is needed not more than is needed like an idling engine.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          Where I live a patrol car averages about 120 miles per 8 hour shift. The car would run three shifts a day, with a monthly break for maintenance. Many of those 8 hours are spent not moving, but keeping the equipment in the car running, along with heat or AC.

          The current EV’s available could not work as a patrol vehicle, unless they have some kind of rapid battery swap between shifts (A Better Place had a good idea). For non-patrol vehicles, an EV might be an option.

          Well, we could also talk about crash ratings, curb ratings, cages, etc. There’s a lot more to a patrol car than people realize.

  • avatar

    And now we see where Ford plans to sell electric pick-ups…government fleets.

  • avatar
    Morea

    So is the next move for GM, Toyota, and FCA to stop building cars in California, and to not buy parts from tier one suppliers in California?

    Eventually, depending on the state in which you live, you will be able to choose either Ford, Honda, BMW, and Volkswagen cars or GM, Toyota, and FCA cars.

  • avatar
    lstanley

    “Car makers that have chosen to be on the wrong side of history will be on the losing end of California’s buying power,”

    Christ, what an acehole.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Fun fact: In addition to being how most California politicians behave, petulance is also the name of the bear on the state flag.

    If CA voters weren’t complete rubes, this dive would be pretty nice and we wouldn’t have simpletons running the show.

    To the rest of the country, I’m sorry.

  • avatar
    James Charles

    I actually support California here. Most of the inane anti-Californian comments are coming from those who knock Chinese products in the US because they are not of the standard they expect.

    California has a standard, like it or lump it.

    The US Military buys like California, even if there is a better and cheaper alternative.

    I think the auto manufacturers need to heed California. It seems the world will overtake the US regarding emission standards soon.

    The far right wing commenters on this site need to be consistent, not this flipping and flopping with opinion and views.

    The far right wingers need standards on how they view the world.

    Standards are not emotive.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Here’s consistency, a one party state is dangerous because it tends to be extreme in its views whatever they are and this leads to division and polarization among its denziens let alone anyone else.

      The President is a better man than I, as President I would have Arkancided several of those totalitarian nuts by now. Every lunatic thing they pull is designed to weaken the Union, that’s why Newsom is grandstanding as opposed to releasing some generic message. He is essentially appointed and not elected, so its not as if he’s shopping for votes. Pity the Far Left is blind to the obvious.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “The President is a better man than I…”

        Damn, don’t beat on yourself like that!

        Seriously, the idea that California or any other deep-blue state is “one party only” isn’t quite accurate – not so long ago, California elected a Republican governor (twice, as a matter of fact), and they did it because the guy was a moderate, not a Sean Hannity wannabe. If they ran another moderate, maybe they could give Newsom a run for his money (which I think would be healthy as hell – there’s nothing like a close race to stop extremist sillilness).

        A Republican governed Massachusetts for quite some time, a Democrat currently serves as U.S. senator from Alabama, and a Democrat nearly knocked off Ted Cruz a couple of years back.

        (Yes, Ahnuld *was* a movie star. But you get my point.)

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          Is your point that you don’t recognize a life-line in the form of Donald Trump? Hillary would have had us quartering soldiers in our homes by now.

        • 0 avatar
          Daniel J

          The only reason we have a democratic senator was because there was a hit job on Roy Moore. I have no idea if Roy Moore actually did the things that were dug up on him, but it was enough to scare moderates away from him to elect Doug Jones.

          In many cases the Party means nothing as there are many RINOs and DINOs out there.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Just because one supports a common standard for fuel economy does not make them a right winger. And just because one supports more stringent emissions standards does not make them a left winger. I’m neither, and I happen to support both ideas.

      California has an arrow in its quiver already that can completely solve this problem – gas tax increases. Add a buck or two a gallon and people will drive a lot less, which will reduce emissions and fuel consumption notably. Smog would instantly lift from LA and San Francisco. But the existing government would get voted out as a result. So the politicos in charge of the State of California play a shell game with auto manufacturers instead. It may pacify their guilt – but in reality doesn’t help much at all, and makes life more difficult for people who make the vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      “Most of the inane anti-Californian comments are coming from those who knock Chinese products in the US because they are not of the standard they expect.”

      Unless you have a means to back that statement up, I believe it was poor choice to lead with. Makes me ignore the rest of your comment.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    No government office should ever buy foreign branded cars, regardless of where they’re made. It’s an insult upon insulting to us tax payers. They should suffer along with anyone who buys a “domestic” willingly, especially sedans. Withhold federal funds or something.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      My gut agrees, but my brain doesn’t. If a foreign car gives the taxpayers the maximum possible bang-for-buck, it makes sense.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      Huh? Alabama has a Toyota, Honda, Mercedes and Honda plants that employ thousands of Americans. I could care less about who holds the company as all profits go to shareholders, and they are around the world. Does Ford spend more money in America? Does GM? Doubtful.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    If you are buying sedans then the Government and States might not have a choice to buy an American brand if the Detroit 2 1/2 stop making cars. DM the Federal Government for the most part buys domestic brands and does not buy foreign made vehicles but that could change if there a few vehicles that meet their specs.

    As for these standards eventually we will have them anyway and eventually we might not be able to buy new ICE vehicles. You as a consumer do have a choice you do not have to buy a new vehicle and you can also keep what you have and postpone buying another vehicle. I remember back in the late 60s and early 70s when people went out and bought cars that were made before emissions, then cars made before catalytic converters, and then cars before they were downsized. Eventually those buyers replaced those vehicles with the very ones that they said they never would buy. Most of those on this site that say they will never buy these newer vehicles that California is requiring will either eventually buy one or those that are old will eventually die off. I can say this because I lived thru the giant land yachts of the past and because I am now one of those oldsters. Not going to worry that much about it. For those Californians who don’t like what California is doing you can move but don’t try to change your new state to be like California–the rest of us don’t need that.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      > If you are buying sedans then the Government and States might not
      > have a choice to buy an American brand if the Detroit 2 1/2 stop making cars.

      They could buy Teslas. The Americanest of all brands.

      • 0 avatar

        “They could buy Teslas. The Americanest of all brands.”

        They would do it if Tesla made ICE vehicles and then agreed to meet CA emission standards. As they already comply therefore CA Government is not interested in them. For the same reason Democrats ignore state of CA during elections.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @SSJeep–You nailed it a gas tax is the most rational but the least popular option which no politician is going to risk the political consequences raising fuel taxes. Much easier politically for Governor Newsom to blame the auto manufacturers for not meeting the standards and then blame the oil companies when they raise prices.

  • avatar

    And I was told that Honda does not do fleet sales. What a lie!

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      $565K in fifty years probably represents cars that California bought from Honda for testing.

      Tonight my Porsche and Jeep driving friend looked enviously at my old Civic and said he was buying one to commute in until retirement. I had to tell him that he should buy a Toyota instead, as Honda makes nothing that is likely to be as trouble-free as he has watched my 2007 Si sedan be while he’s spent a fortune keeping German and Detroit stuff on the road.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I am sure that the Government fleet will consist of Teslas in the future. The Government has made it a point to include more hybrids like Fusion, Malibu, and C-Max and they buy a certain percentage of green vehicles. Wouldn’t surprise me if they specd the Mach E for Government fleet purchase.

  • avatar
    brn

    Just two things.

    1. Not moving forward is not a “rollback”. Please stop calling it something that it isn’t.

    2. Volkswagen? Really?

  • avatar
    stuki

    If I was an idiot who wanted to reduce ICE emissions, I’d ban efficient ICE sedans as well. That way, departments can buy inefficient SUVs instead…..

    And if I was a scumbag, I’d make up all manners of weird excuses for why taxpayers should pay triple for me to drive a BMW, or a Tesla, instead of a lowest bidder Chevy.

    Of course, being an idiot and proud of it, I’d also make sure there would be exactly zero competition for pickup trucks, service bodies or any other truck larger than a Ridgeline, by banning anyone else who builds them, from competing with Ford. That way, Ford can charge taxpayers whatever the heck they want. And I can preen around flaunting how big of an idiot I am! To cheers from well indoctrinated, progressive even-bigger-idiots everywhere!

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    I support California’s ability to set its own CARB standards. I support the notion that a state should be able to have some say in fleet purchasing guidelines (eg, vehicles built in the USA, only certain trim levels, etc.).

    From the governor’s comments though, this is clearly not motivated by the best interests of Californians, it’s clearly political and retaliatory in nature. That’s where it becomes a bridge too far, in my mind.

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