EXCLUSIVE: A group of House Republicans introduced legislation Wednesday that would restrict California’s ability to ban traditional gas-powered cars as part of the state’s electric vehicle push.
The four Republicans, led by Rep. Bob Latta of Ohio, said the bill — Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act — is designed to protect American consumers’ freedom of choice and block stringent purchase requirements that would lead to higher costs. The legislation comes months after California, which leads the country in annual car sales, approved regulations mandating that all car purchases are “zero emissions” by 2035.
“We have seen time and time again that heavy-handed government intervention – like California’s proposal to ban internal combustion engine vehicles – limits consumer choice and infringes upon Americans’ freedoms when choosing what’s best for themselves and their families,” Latta said in a statement shared with Fox News Digital.
“California’s misguided proposal will have ramifications that go well beyond its own borders and would make it more difficult for Americans to get to work, drop their kids off at school, and travel to visit loved ones,” he continued.
Latta, who serves as a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee added that the legislation would help preserve consumers’ freedom to choose vehicles they “want – and can afford – to drive.”
In addition to Latta, Reps. Jay Obernolte, R-Calif., Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., and John Joyce, R-Pa., also sponsored the legislation.
“In places like my rural California district where many people commute several hours to work every day just to feed their families, electric vehicles are not only unaffordable, but also impractical — especially when residents are asked to unplug their vehicle chargers to accommodate the state’s failure to produce sufficient electricity,” Obernolte said in a statement.
“We need a market-based approach that will enable continued competition in the marketplace and push electric vehicles to be better and more affordable while enabling people to make their own choices about what type of car to drive,” the California Republican added. “That is the economic system that our nation was built on, and our government should not be permitted to regulate away that freedom.”
Bilirakis stated the California regulations were “another example of liberal elitists being detached from the real constraints on the energy grid and the average American consumer.”
In August, the California Air Resources Board, a leading state environmental agency, announced the vehicle purchase restrictions. California Gov. Gavin Newsom celebrated the regulations, saying the state would continue to “lead the revolution towards our zero-emission transportation future.”
In addition, another 17 states have laws in place that tether their vehicle emissions standards to those set in California, meaning the electric vehicle mandate would impact Americans nationwide. Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency is empowered to grant California a waiver to implement stricter emissions standards than the federal government.
Overall, the states adopting California’s 2035 rule represent more than 40% of total U.S. car purchases, according to Latta’s office.
“California’s discriminatory waiver request would set a costly and dangerous precedent,” Joyce said in a statement. “One state should not be able to set national policy and Americans should not be coerced into making purchases they cannot afford.”
“Congress must immediately pass the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act to stop this heavy-handed proposal that only takes away choices from American consumers.”