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.”