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Dual tailpipe on a sports car.

GM Endorses California Vehicle-Emissions Standards

Jan. 11, 2022
The automaker reversed itself by committing to recognize the state’s authority to set tailpipe emissions standards – making it eligible for government fleet purchases.

General Motors Corp. has committed to recognize California’s regulatory authority to establish vehicle emissions standards, a change that will make the automaker eligible the state government’s fleet purchases. During 2016-18, prior to the automaker siding with the federal EPA’s effort to establish a nationwide fuel-mileage standard, the state reportedly purchased $58.6 million worth of GM vehicles.

GM notified California Governor Gavin Newsom of its policy change by letter, prompting the governor to state:

"GM is joining California in our fight for clean air and emission reduction as part of the company's pursuit of a zero-emissions future. This agreement will help accelerate California's nation-leading commitment to tackling the climate crisis. We welcome GM in our clean vehicle revolution."

Three years ago, with GM as its ally, the Trump Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sought to overrule California by establishing a common fuel-mileage standard. California and 22 other states sued the EPA to block that effort, and the state made a voluntary agreement with Ford Motor Co., Honda of America, BMW of North America, and Volkswagen Group of America, to raise gas-mileage standards and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

California has indicated it will ban the sale of new gas-powered cars starting in 2035, which is a more aggressive position than the current federal standard. The Biden Administration’s goal is for all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles to comprise 50% of new-vehicle sales by 2030.

General Motors has said its goal is to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035, and it has committed to invest $35 billion through 2025 to its EV and autonomous-vehicle development programs.

“We believe everyone should have access to affordable, long-range electric-vehicle options, and we are committed to working in collaboration with California to achieve an equitable transportation future," stated Omar Vargas, GM's vice president and head of Global Public Policy.

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