California rules set lower emissions for state vehicle fleet

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California announced new rules Friday for its state vehicle fleet to reduce pollution and reward automakers that are siding with it against the Trump administration.

Officials immediately barred state agencies from buying any sedans that only run on internal combustion engines, with exemptions for certain public safety vehicles. The state has about 40,000 vehicles, about 8,400 of which are sedans.

Starting next year, it will require state agencies to buy only from companies that recognize California’s authority to set greenhouse gas and zero emission vehicle standards.

Only BMW, Ford, Volkswagen and Honda have decided to back California and endorse stricter emissions and fuel economy standards than proposed by the Trump administration.

The announcement came the same day California sued the Republican administration again over those standards.

“Car makers that have chosen to be on the wrong side of history will be on the losing end of California’s buying power,” Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.

Newsom’s Department of General Services, which ordered the restrictions, could not immediately say how many sedans agencies buy each year or how long it might take to replace the current fleet. About 3,200 vehicles currently are hybrids or zero emission vehicles.

But it said many local agencies are likely to abide by the same standards because they can piggyback on the state’s vehicle contracts.

It says the state fleet has increased its alternative fuel usage nearly 2,700% since 2003 while reducing fuel usage by nearly a quarter.