Commentary

Roper: Don’t let Gavin Newsom decide what kind of car Vermonters can buy

California standards third ‘pillar’ of Global Warming Solutions Act strategy

By Rob Roper

The Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI-P), a stealth carbon tax on gasoline and diesel, died last December when the only three states that originally agreed to participate all backed out. That was one down. The Clean Heat Standard (CHS), a stealth carbon tax on propane, natural gas, kerosene, and heating oil was just successfully vetoed by Governor Scott. That’s two. The next piece of the Global Warming Solutions Act up for consideration is Vermont participation in the California Clean Car & Clean Truck Standards – an ultimate ban on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

Vermont participation in the California Clean Car & Clean Truck Standards – an ultimate ban on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

In a nutshell, what these California-driven policies do is mandate that one hundred percent of all cars and light trucks sold in the state be “zero emission vehicles” (ZEVs) by 2035 with the restrictions on imports beginning in 2026 and ratcheting up after that. For medium and heavy duty trucks, the mandated import percentages are 30 percent by 2030 and 40 percent or higher depending upon class by 2035.

At a May 16th meeting of the Climate Council, Meghan O’Toole of the Department of Environmental Conservation explained, “We adopt these rules pursuant to our authority under the Clean Air Act to have unique and more stringent standards that are reflective of the California program. And because of the provisions of the Clean Air Act that allow us to do that. We don’t really have any flexibility in amending the substantive provisions or the stringency of the provisions of these rules. They have to be identical to the State of California’s program.”

So, basically California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, via executive order is dictating what Vermont vehicle consumers can and cannot buy. If we go along. We don’t have to.

As Julie Moore, Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources said, “[W]hen it comes to the Clean Car & Cleat Truck Standard. Our choices are really to adopt what California has proposed, or to adopt the federal level standards.” So thumbs up or thumbs down. 

The obvious choice from a practical, consumer conscious perspective here is thumbs down to California and go with the federal standards. The problems with the California standards are numerous. ZEVs are expensive, inefficient in Vermont’s climate, the infrastructure doesn’t exist to support them, and demand, though slightly increasing with the help of taxpayer subsidies, is relatively low. Moreover, although there are several other states that have signed onto the California emissions standards, New Hampshire isn’t one of them. All this will do is drive the sales of new ICE vehicles across the river. But, needless to say, option sticking Vermonters with this California policy is what the Climate Council is pushing for.

O’Toole went on, “We anticipate that if all of the vehicles that will be delivered to the state of Vermont pursuant to these rules are actually bought by Vermonters and fleet owners in Vermont and placed in service, then we’ll get about a third of the way to our GWSA goal just for the transportation sector…. That’s again assuming that people buy all these vehicles and place them in service on Vermont roads — and retire their ICE vehicles.”  

These are gargantuanly unrealistic assumptions. A legislative mandate forcing car dealers to import only vehicles most Vermonters don’t want and/or can’t afford with the expectation that we are too stupid to cross the river or visit Carvana.com to find the practical and affordable vehicle we want is delusional, apart from being totally hostile to consumer freedom of choice. Prediction: this results in car lots full of unsold vehicles in Vermont and a run on showrooms in New Hampshire, damaging our economy and doing little to nothing for emissions.  

The rational policy choice is to break with California and switch back to the federal CAFÉ standards for Vermont vehicle sales. The Agency of Natural Resources is set to file these rules with the Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules (ICAR) on July 1 with hopes of having all these rules fully in place by the end of the year. Let’s hope the string of policy outcomes someone, ie Governor Scott, squashes this nonsense. That would be three strikes and you’re out for the Global Warming Solutions Act.

Rob Roper is on the Board of Directors of the Ethan Allen Institute.

6 replies »

  1. Let’s talk a bit about so-called “executive orders” and “mandates”. In a strict legal sense, they are no more than “strong suggestions”. Oh sure, they want you to associate the official-sounding words executive order and mandate with law. That serves their purpose of one world order perfectly. And again, if the masses don’t question, according to “their” religion, the masses are thereby giving their approval. Twisted.

    But executive orders and mandates are not law. Only the legislative branches can make law. And if the laws they make are unconstitutional, we have the courts for that. In theory, anyway. Beyond that, it is our obligation as Patriotic Americans to not obey any unconstitutional law. Again, if we do, according to their logic, we’re saying we’re okay with it.

    I don’t see anywhere in the Bill of Rights where there are any asterisks. I don’t see “We have the right to freely travel* *(unless they declare a pandemic, real or not). I don’t see “We have the right to freedom of religion* *(unless they declare all houses of worship closed). I don’t see “We have the right to freedom of speech* *(unless a woman gets offended because we called her a woman)”.

    Nor do I see anything regarding executive orders or mandates being de facto law.

    Still don’t see how silly it is? Let’s say by some odd circumstance I get elected governor. I issue an executive order stating that all women must go topless whenever the temperature is at or over 60 degrees. Supposedly I have the authority. Blatantly stupid, right? But, but, but…. it’s an EXECUTIVE ORDER, dammit!

    Do you get it yet? YOU give them power. WE give them power. So simply STOP giving them power!

  2. Personally I wish that the California wanna bes would just do the rest of us all a favor, and move to their utopian dream. I don’t want their crime rate, their “gun control” which obviously does not work, their taxes, their failed attempts at managing energy consumption, or their attempts to limit carbon pollution with their green agenda. Oh, and by the way, how is Newsome’s cutting a half billion dollars in “wildfire prevention” money working out for California ? I want no part of California, or the birdbrains that proliferate there, and have ruined that state. In my opinion no one has ever said it better than Patrick Henry, “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

  3. I think a lot of Vermonters will make South Dakota a bit richer, since it allows non-residents to register a vehicle there. I know I will. I have no choice since I can’t afford an EV and never will.

  4. Have you seen the numerous videos on YouTube of EV cars and buses exploding and/or catching fire when their lithium batteries fail during both plug-ins at charging stations and simply on the road? They are NOT safer. They are NOT! They are more expensive, they don’t fare well in states with cold climates, Vermont doesn’t have the infrastructure to support them, and I’ll bet well over half of us Vermonters can’t afford them. $5,000 for a new battery? Come ON!! $50,000 for a new EV car? My last car was a perfectly good, brand new Honda gas-powered car, and I paid only $28,000 for it. When I replace the battery it will be a couple hundred at most. The wacko liberals who run our lives only believe in freedom of choice for abortions. They sure don’t believe in it for Covid vaccinations or the kinds of cars we drive or how we choose to heat our homes. Our government is violating Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution on a massive scale. .

  5. EVs are like the solution, like the cliche of the late 1950s; electricity will be too cheap to meter.

  6. I am not going to pay Washington Electric Co-op rates to charge a car. It will be more expensive than gas, I guarantee.

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