California joins boycott of Trump-allied automakers

Following the disappointing decision by Toyota, GM and Fiat Chrysler to side with the Trump administration’s campaign to strip California of its authority to set stringent fuel economy standards, some pundits and influencers began calling for a boycott.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich tweeted, “Toyota, goodbye. The environmental goodwill you’ve built by pioneering hybrid cars has vanished in your choice of Trump over California. #toyotatrump.” The post was quickly re-tweeted 2,700 times, as ordinary folks starting registering their rage at Toyota for squandering the years’ worth of green cred it had gained by producing the Prius.

Others who have weighed in with calls for a boycott include the editorial board of New Jersey’s Star-Ledger, the League of Conservation Voters, and lefty filmmaker Michael Moore.

The other two automakers who signed onto the legal action in support of Trump’s plan to freeze fuel economy standards are of course equally blameworthy, but the online ire seems to be mostly directed at Toyota, which has long been considered one of the greenest automakers thanks to the pioneering and popular Prius.

Auto execs aren’t likely to lose much sleep over what Michael Moore thinks of their policies. However, the latest news may make them wonder if they’ve backed the wrong side in the emissions war. California’s Department of General Services announced that, starting in January, state agencies will no longer buy vehicles from carmakers that haven’t agreed to follow the state’s clean air standards.

According to CalMatters, California  spent over $27 million on Chevrolet passenger vehicles, $11 million on Fiat Chrysler vehicles, and $3.6 million on Toyotas in 2018.

Also, state agencies will no longer buy gas-powered sedans, effective immediately (public safety vehicles are exempt from the ban). A few months ago, state legislators considered, but did not pass, a law that would have restricted the state’s clean car rebates only to vehicles from automakers that agreed to follow the state’s rules.

“The state is finally making the smart move away from internal combustion engine sedans,” Governor Gavin Newsom told CalMatters. “Carmakers that have chosen to be on the wrong side of history will be on the losing end of California’s buying power.”

Sources: CalMatters, Electrek

  • TheOtherPaul

    Love to see the backlash.

    • Stephen Lee Terry

      As a former ‘native’, I agree. California is too full of itself and has cost the State Billions of dollars in poor legislation for transportation, safety, and public services (and that is only a few of the bad check boxes). EVs will come along in a robust wave when the infrastructure is seriously funded and designed to support them, not as a gold pin process to wear on a lapel. You cannot legislate cooperation from those who are more powerful, and vested in transportation as an income stream. They will only change their manufacturing when it meets the ledger in black, not red. I am all for going green; just not at the expense of the voters and hard working taxpayers. Hollywood seems to think they know what is best for the State. I like the line “Auto execs aren’t likely to lose much sleep over what Michael Moore thinks of their policies”. They are the last people I would listen to. When battery systems match or outperform fossil fuel, we will reach a turning point. When big Auto sees the market demand increase exponentially; we will reach that turning point. When you can charge a car in the same amount of time it takes (and at less cost) to fuel an ICE; we will not look back except with a shake of our heads saying ‘what took us so long?’.

      • Lance Pickup

        “When you can charge a car in the same amount of time it takes (and at less cost) to fuel an ICE”

        This shouldn’t be the benchmark we are aiming for. Rather, I think it should be “when your total travel time is not impacted by the time it takes to refuel/recharge your car…” The actual speed at which a car recharges is not significant if you are going to stop more often and for longer than you need to pump gas anyway. But somehow most people are hung up on being able to recharge in 5 minutes, even though they are going to spend 10-30 minutes every 3 hours at a stop anyway.

        But here is an interesting perspective, and I’m wondering how you feel about it. If it’s obvious that we will eventually reach the point where BEVs are in fact superior to ICE, including overall cost (to buy, fuel, maintain and operate), thus providing less of a drag on the economy, should governments get involved in accelerating the transition to get us to that point more quickly, so long as the overall economic benefit is positive within a reasonable amount of time? That is to say, if incentives (which end up costing money in the short term) end up generating a return on investment after a reasonable amount of time, and from thereafter the economy reaps the benefits of the more efficient transportation solution.

        • Stuart McColl

          Your mentality sir is part of the problem. You can fuel up in your garage or parking space over night and the SuperCharger network is growing. You can’t compare the 2 straight up. One pollutes with tail pipe emissions straight into your face and the face of your children and grandchildren … the other does not. There are issues … understood … but saying “until it’s just like gasoline I will not” … is … part of the problem.

          • Lance Pickup

            Not sure if you meant to reply to my comment, or @stephenleeterry:disqus ‘s that I had quoted and replied to myself. I agree 100% with you…I had focused mainly on financial/economic effects in my response, but you are right that there are climatic and environmental effects that should also be taken into account. But as you say, the “fill up in the same amount of time as a gas fillup” crowd doesn’t seem to care much about those.

          • AJ Costa

            Not everybody has a garage. Until the charging infrastructure improves, EVs will lag a bit.

        • sickofgovwaste

          “Why shouldn’t governments get involved?”
          Oh, maybe cronyism, corruption, inefficiency, waste, lack of real world knowledge (should I keep going?)…
          Government IS the problem. If they hadn’t been handing out crony favors to the oil industry, we’d have all been driving electric long ago.

          Here’s a fun fact:
          Governments worldwide have killed 250M+ people in the past century alone, NOT including wars. So, 1/4 of a billion people slaughtered at the hands of government–why would you trust them with ANYTHING?

          Quit asking government to “solve” everything–they created the mess in the first place!

          And, yes, end all of the oil/gas subsidies yesterday, too.

          • Lance Pickup

            Well it’s pretty easy to cherry pick all the negative things that all governments have ever done, but they do have a place in society, and do have positive contributions as well. Governments are one of the few (and in some cases the only) entities with resources capable of solving societies biggest problems. Can that power be abused? For sure. The difference between governments and huge mega-corporations that also have vast resources is that at least people in theory have the ability to direct the actions of their government. For sure, this is broken in many ways, particularly in the US where it is money that directs the government, but in theory anyway, if money can be taken out of politics, society itself can direct its own course.

          • sickofgovwaste

            “CHERRY PICKING” the murder of 250,000,000+ people? Wow, that’s absolutely astonishing! Just wow!

            “Yeah, he literally gnawed at his neck until he could bite off his head completely, but he bought me a drink 30 minutes ago. Not a bad bloke…”

            Honestly, comedy writers couldn’t make this stuff up! Do you even hear yourself??

  • AJ Costa

    CA is progressive and forward-thinking, great to see them use their economic power to put pressure on lazy automakers who refuse to improve mpg standards a bit. Go CA! Crush ’em!