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Do you know which state sells the most automobiles? It is California, and their automobile market of two million annual sales of vehicles  is roughly the same as Canada’s.  California also leads in having ten per cent of all vehicles already electric powered.

As the New York Times reports the size of that state’s vehicular market and the potential for Canada to adopt California’s strict car emission standards may be sufficient to roll back the proposed lower emission standards.

The current President of the United States intends to roll back current emission standards which required carmakers to develop vehicles with an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025. A plan to make that standard only 37 miles per gallon would dramatically increase climate change causing greenhouse gases.

In a move described by a political professor as showing that the current Canadian Prime Minister “doesn’t want to appear to be Trump’s poodle”  

Justin Trudeau’s government is signing a deal with California to adopt that state’s more stringent vehicular polluting standards. That means that the market for cars in Canada will need to adhere with the higher standards already in place in California. This may be enough to sway automobile makers to maintain the higher standard, with one-third of American states standing behind it as well as Canada.

Canada has traditionally adopted the standards proposed by the American government instead of independently adopting standards proposed by a state. While the move to an adopted state standard of higher emission control could pressure manufacturers to create solely less polluting vehicles, there is also the chance that a two market system would be created. That would be a market where better performing vehicles are sold in Canada and in thirteen states, with the rest of the states going for more pollution emitting vehicles.

Given the  administrative challenges with dealing with a two tier automotive emission standard, analysts expect manufacturers to go for the higher standard, ensuring universal transferability of vehicles to all states of America as well as to Canada.

In the continuing American political pollution standards chess game, the current President of the United States intends to rescind the right of states to adopt vehicular pollution standards that are better than that proposed by the federal government. Given California and Canada’s market share, that may be a moot point if higher standard vehicles are already required by adopted policy.

You can view the YouTube video below  aptly laying out the issues around the federal lower automobile emission standards.




  1. Meanwhile, Toyota, the largest producer of cars in the world, announced in early June it is ramping up electric vehicle manufacturing to half of world-wide sales by 2025, just a little more than five years away. It will partner with Chinese battery manufacturers to ensure the supply is not too constrained. This is all due to spiking consumer demand for EVs, and the other majors are well down that road too.

    The Trudeau government did not do the math when they bought the Trans Mountain export pipeline project. Neither has Alberta. The market for liquid petroleum fuels in land transport (the lion’s share of the destination market for diluted bitumen) will probably plateau, then decline just as the TMX pipe meets tidewater — that’s IF it gets that far.

    1. Yes we will see more and more new EVs. Many of these stats include hybrids though, likely also Toyota’s, not just pure EVs without an ICE (internal combustion engine). Hence, peak oil expected to be late 2030s or 2040, then slow decline as world’s vehicles on the road mushroom from now slightly over a billion to around two billion, with over 80M sold annually, 10M each roughly by the two largest firms, VW and Toyota. It took us 150+ years to get to peak oil, so it will not drop very hard, very fast. Mineral mining for batteries also controversial so expect prices of large batteries, ie EVs to be high.

      Scale & size matters. EVs good for cities, and better city air, but EVs still range constrained, need vast charging infrastructure, perform poorly in very cold weather. In addition, heavy trucks, e-buses, e-ships, e-trucks, e-tractors or e-combines .. and of course e-planes quite some time in the future, if ever.

      The immediate future is hybrid as it makes so much common sense. That’s why I have been driving one for 4+ years now. Economics matter. Gov subsidies very limited. Like AVs or robots or AI there’s a lot of hype decoupled from economic reality.

      Visitors from out of town are always amazed how many EVs are on the road in Vancouver as that is not the norm for frigid rest of Canada. But yes we will see more and more of them if it makes economic sense and once charge issues are being solved which is a multi-decade ongoing investment case, keeping charge costs thus EV op costs elevated. Germany and some other non-nuclear EU states now at around 40 cents a kWh – sevenfold our low rate of six cents and four fold of our ten cent per kWh normal rate. As such expect EV op costs to at least triple the next 2 or so decades negating much of the current EV advantage.

  2. Lithium ion batteries do outperform the standard lead acid batteries in cold weather, though all batteries see performance drop in very cold weather.

    Regarding renewable power costs, with solar and wind, distributed power generation is possible, putting the source closer to the consumer and minimizing the cost of transmission. Today’s hydro is all about centralization in far away flooded valleys. Further, new utility-scale high-performance liquid metal electricity storage technology using common, affordable materials (currently under testing at MIT) levels out the peaks and valleys and eliminates the concern about intermittency. EVs and electricity-powered transit were made for renewables.

    Of course, there is always urban planning conservation measures such as building more compact neighbourhoods where transit, walking and cycling are a lot more viable. That will lower our egregious dependency on cars, including EVs, and free up more capital in family budgets.

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