Dispute over emissions limits: california boycotts automakers

In the dispute with u.S. President donald trump over emissions regulations, california now wants to set a sign. From 1. January 2020, the state will only buy cars for its agencies and other state functions that comply with the emissions standards of the california air resources board (carb). This was announced by the california department of general service on 15. November. Five manufacturers, including german brands bmw, audi and vw, have recently pledged that their products will comply with the standard in the future.

The california governor’s office said that one of the aims of choosing such vehicles is to support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. "Automakers that have chosen to be on the wrong side of history" will no longer support california, he said. This refers to manufacturers general motors, fiat chrysler and toyota, which, according to media reports, plan to follow washington’s plans.

The californian state orders involve a very limited number of vehicles – the planned boycott is primarily symbolic politics. The german manufacturers, who have sided with california, could hardly benefit economically from the government orders, if only because of their range of products. Rather, there is now the danger of being caught between the fronts because of their stance.

The conflict between california, which for decades has been a global leader in emissions legislation, and washington stems from trump’s intention to roll back a tightening of auto emissions rules enacted under the obama administration. Trump hopes this will strengthen the domestic auto industry against importers.

California has had a special right to its own emissions legislation since the 1960s because of the once extreme air pollution in los angeles. The state is prepared to sue for the privilege all the way to the supreme court. California’s emissions legislation applies in 13 other states and has for decades been the model for the most important international emissions rules for motor vehicles, including in the eu.

The u.S. Government is responding with justice department investigations into whether the manufacturers’ agreement and california’s planned contracting practices violate antitrust law.

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