The Free-Market Rejects EV Mandates

Leading what could be a large exodus from the EV mandates issued by the unelected California Air Resources Board (CARB), the state of Virginia has announced its exit from California’s electric vehicle mandate, effective at the end of 2024 when the current regulations expire.

Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin stated, “Once again, Virginia is declaring independence – this time from a misguided electric vehicle mandate imposed by unelected leaders 3,000 miles away from the Commonwealth.”

Virginia joined the California CARB-compliance states in 2021 under Democrat Governor Ralph Northam. Yes, post-birth, pro-abortion Ralph Northam.

CARB was established in 1967 under then-Governor Ronald Reagan and is part of California’s Environmental Protection Agency. California is the only state uniquely permitted to issue its own vehicle emissions standards under the Clean Air Act. All other states can choose to follow CARB or federal vehicle emissions standards but they may not set their own.

The ”Advanced Clean Cars ll” (ACC ll) act, set to go into effect January 1, 2025, would have required 35 percent of new car sales in Model Year 2026 to be electric, rising to 100 percent of new cars in Model Year 2035. Failure to comply could have resulted in auto manufacturers facing fines of up to $20,000 per vehicle sold.

The Biden administration has deferred adoption of the California plan, which is significantly more aggressive than the federal EV transition timeline imposed by the EPA. Biden’s $7.5 billion program to build a national EV charging infrastructure has been an utter failure. Thus far it’s built a grand total of seven new EV charging stations. That comes out to about $1 billion per charging station thus far. What a boondoggle.

Elon Musk built a nationwide, coast-to-coast Supercharger network for far less that is now used by competing EV manufacturers including Ford, GM, Mercedes-Benz, and Rivian among 11 companies that have adopted Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS).

In the U.S., 15 other states and the District of Columbia follow CARB rules. These states include Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

CARB rules comprise regulatory committee rulings and executive orders from California Governor Gavin Newsom and have not been adopted through the legislature or approved by voters. Originally intended to tackle the state’s air quality problems, CARB became a useful tool for Democrat-dominated California to impose agenda issues across the country using its unique authority to set zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandates thus forcing the “transition” to EVs in states that have little demand for battery-operated cars.

“EV mandates like California’s are unworkable and out of touch with reality, and thankfully the law does not bind us to their regulations,” claimed Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, who added, “California does not control which cars Virginians buy.” EVs in Virginia represented roughly nine percent of all new vehicle sales in 2023, not exactly a ringing market endorsement of the technology.

Now, Connecticut has followed Virginia as the second CARB state to reject California’s EV mandate. Connecticut Republicans mobilized voters and lawmakers to oppose the adoption of ACC ll standards and will default to more generous federal standards set by the EPA. This move suggests that the alliance of states following California’s EV mandates is weakening and could collapse altogether.

With the unpopularity of such mandates, which states will follow Virginia and Connecticut? It’s interesting to note that Virginia and especially Connecticut have been reliably blue. If Connecticut can move back to a sane position on EV mandates, anything is possible, especially if these unworkable mandates find themselves on the ballot as referendum items and as the needed charging infrastructure continues its painfully slow roll-out.

Industry executives like Toyota’s Chairman Akio Toyoda, had this to say. “The enemy is CO2. We propose a multi-pathway approach that doesn’t rely on any particular power train. Customers, not regulations or politics should decide on what path to rely on.”

It should be noted that Toyota is the market leader in hybrid vehicles that combine gas and electric power plants. For up to 40 miles, hybrids can run off an EV motor, and when the battery has been depleted, they switch to an internal combustion engine to charge the battery. Are hybrids the best solution, a best-of-both-worlds approach that makes the transition to battery-powered vehicles easier?

As hybrids gain in popularity due to having a genuine market demand, the market views the ZEV crowd as zealots that would force their “green” beliefs onto everyone regardless of their choice. Why wouldn’t they want hybrids that are easier on the environment, plus people actually want them and can afford them? Not everybody wants California to determine which car they drive.

With the strict ACC ll standards pushing ahead to meet the 2035 deadline and looser federal standards being further delayed, the gap between the two paths to EV adoption is widening. Standards determined by individual states are likely to be determined by party lines, with Democrats solidly in favor of aggressive EV mandates and Republicans more in favor of consumer choice and a free market. Look for additional states, particularly those with Conservative leadership, to declare their “independence” from these unrealistic California EV mandate rules.


Richard Truesdell is a former consumer electronics retail executive and automotive travel photojournalist. In the last 25 years, he has visited more than 35 countries on six continents. A former high school history teacher with a BA in Political Science from Waynesburg University, he is a lifelong Conservative moderate who has turned his thoughts and keyboard to political commentary and popular culture. A cross-section of his writings can be found here.

Keith Lehmann is a retired consumer electronics industry executive who has written extensively on technology, transportation, and international travel. Living in Southern California for over fifty years, he has first-hand exposure to societal and cultural happenings of the left and submits decidedly realism-based, Conservative viewpoints, much of which can be found on his Substack.

Get the news corporate media won't tell you.

Get caught up on today's must read stores!

By submitting your information, you agree to receive exclusive AG+ content, including special promotions, and agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms. By providing your phone number and checking the box to opt in, you are consenting to receive recurring SMS/MMS messages, including automated texts, to that number from my short code. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help, STOP to end. SMS opt-in will not be sold, rented, or shared.
Photo: Rearview of parked cars Car dealership office. New car parked in modern showroom. Automobile leasing and insurance concept.

Notable Replies

  1. The notion that government possesses the authority - legitimate authority - to decide how we live our lives from the food we eat to the vehicles we drive is anathema to any free society. What’s disturbing is the total lack of any consequences for the ranks of dimwitted gubmint losers and aspiring fascists for the cash wasted on these “programs” (or is that “pogroms”?). Billions of dollars for 7 charging stations? Billions? Didn’t Nero burn Rome to build his golden palace? Unelected bureaucrats are burning down our energy and transportation sectors to force their “vision” on Americans which is based on a thoroughly discredited lie of “climate change”. At least Rome had a praetorian guard to eliminate its failures and tyrants. What do we do with ours?

    The final insult? California courts threw out the last-ditch attempt by taxpayers to limit taxing ability of its government via a ballot measure, which leaves taxpayers with no possible recourse against government. Revolution is the last refuge of oppressed people.

  2. The real problem is through many decades of incremental legal sophistry, courts have permitted the federal government to accrete ever more extra-Constitutional powers that the Founders never in their wildest imaginations could have conceived, let alone approved of.

    If California wishes to abuse it citizenry with absurd and unworkable regulations, then let Californians suffer the consequences. But by no means should the federal government have any say in the choices American citizens have in the purchase of cars, appliances or anything else. Market forces will always determine the best and most efficient product.

    And as for SCOTUS ruling that CO2 should be regulated, any justice who voted for that idiocy should be “regulated” out of a job.

  3. Am I really the only person on this planet who – from the get-go – rejected California’s exalted position in matters vehicular? Will stupid ever prevail?

  4. Agreed, and let’s emphasize the element that makes these “Free Markets” work:


    Four massive global corporations controlling 80% of the national meat market via lobbying and political donations does not a “Free Market” make! Neither does single source country-of-origin for every drug Americans take: China. Thankfully, Trump has a good record of attempting reforms in this area, but I am suspicious of his recent acceptance of donations from Silicon Valley billionaires.

Continue the discussion at community.amgreatness.com


Avatar for michael Avatar for Maximus-Cassius Avatar for Alecto Avatar for system