If you’re looking to buy a new Chevrolet Camaro SS, ZL1, or 1LE and you currently live in California or Washington state, you’d better hurry.
Because in a few short weeks you won’t be able to get one in any body style or version, according to GM Authority.
General Motors officials told the outlet that dealers located in those states won’t be able to order them to sell because of the cars’ brake pads: They contain too much copper and thus violate California and Washington environmental rules.
“Due to restrictions in California and Washington state related to copper brake pads, customers in those states cannot order a 2021 Camaro SS, ZL1 and 1LE for delivery after January 1, 2021,” GM spokesman Kevin M. Kelly told the outlet. “Customers can, however, purchase these models from available dealer stock in those states.”
While customers in both states won’t be able to get a 2021 model, GM officials say it’s just temporary.
“We will resume allowing customers in California and Washington state to order the Camaro SS, ZL1 and 1LE models in 2022 when we introduce a new brake system that is compliant with the copper requirements,” Kelly added.
According to Jalopnik, both states passed their respective brake-pad legislation a decade ago. In addition to placing limits on the level of copper that can be used in break pads beginning Jan. 1, the laws also bar the use of heavy metals and asbestos beginning in 2015.
But the environmental rules get even more strict in 2025; brake pads will be limited to just 0.5 percent carbon composition.
“Although the Better Brakes Law requires manufacturers to reduce or eliminate several toxic chemicals, the major focus is copper. As brake pads wear down, copper and other metals in brake dust are deposited on roadways, where they are washed into streams and rivers,” the Washington State Department of Ecology notes on its website.
“Copper is highly toxic to fish and other aquatic species. It interferes with their sense of smell, making them more vulnerable to predators. It also reduces their ability to return to their spawning streams. Young salmon are especially susceptible to the effects of copper,” the department notes further.
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control adds: “An estimated 1.3 million pounds of copper in dust from brake pads produced from vehicles braking on roadways was released into California’s waterways and the environment in 2010, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Copper and other trace elements are essential for biological activity, but can become detrimental at higher concentrations.”
Down the road, so to speak, getting any vehicle with an internal combustion engine in the Golden State will be impossible.
In September, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that will require all new vehicles sold in the state beginning in 2035 to produce zero emissions. Included in the ban are heavy-equipment trucks and off-road vehicles.
His action follows similar bans on vehicles enacted in Europe, China, and Mexico City.
Vehicles that burn gasoline or diesel, that were purchased and registered before 2035 will remain legal to drive.
“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” Newsom said. “Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse—and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”
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