California Must Not Like the Camaro SS – Why You Can’t Buy One in 2021

2021 Chevrolet ZL1 | Photo Credit: Chevrolet

California and Washington have long been viewed as some of the most progressive states in our nation. California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, has gone so far as to sign an executive order banning the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years.

Washington pushed a similar bill that will refuse registration of any gas-powered cars by 2030 to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. If my math is right, that’s a long way away, so what gives?

Not everything is what it seems, and these two states aren’t downright refusing the 2021 high-performance Camaro’s because they’re V-8 gas guzzlers, but rather, something you might not expect, and it has to do with the brakes.

Brembo Brakes Containing Copper Banned in California & Washington

Brembo Brakes | Photo Credit: Brembo

GM Authority reported the Brembo brakes that come standard on these high-performance models are to blame. California and Washington passed new regulations that go into effect on January 1, 2021, banning the sale of brake pads with more than five percent copper.

The senior manager for car and crossover communications at Chevrolet, Kevin M. Kelly, told GM Authority that although sales of these future Camaro’s are prohibited for the foreseeable future, existing dealer stock will be up for grabs.

Mr. Kelly went on to say:

“Due to restrictions in California and Washington related to copper brakes pads, customers in those states cannot order a 2021 Camaro SS, ZL1, and 1LE for delivery after January 1, 2021. Customers can, however, purchase these models from available dealer stock in those states.”

If you’re still reeling from 2020 and 2021 wasn’t your year to buy your dream car, Camaro’s won’t be kept out of these two states forever. Fortunately, Chevrolet is searching for options to sell them in California and Washington by 2022. They are seeking a new brake system that complies with the states’ copper requirements.

These laws may come as a shock, the brake pad bills were signed into law ten years ago. While the two states have limited the amount of copper used in brakes, in 2015, they also banned asbestos and heavy metals from manufacturing. By 2025, these laws will be more strict and limit brake pads to 0.5 percent carbon composition.

What is the Rationale Behind These New Laws?

It’s okay if you’re scratching your head and wondering the rationale behind these new laws. The Washington State Department of Ecology explained their reasoning on their website:

“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.

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.”

As was mentioned above, these laws were passed ten years ago, which gave ample time for auto manufacturers to make the necessary adjustments. Perhaps they didn’t get the memo, but it looks like the Chevrolet will miss out on a large chunk of the market share this time around.

Options to Purchase a New Camaro

2021 Camaro SS | Photo Credit: Chevrolet

You might be wondering how the brake legislation is going to affect you this year if you plan on purchasing this model Camaro and live in one of these states. Fortunately, California & Washington haven’t banned sales of all Camaro’s, just the high-performance models, which means you can still pick up a Camaro 1LS, 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT. These both offer a variety of 2.0L Turbo 4-cylinder and 3.6L V-6 engines.

We understand, however, if you’re looking for a high-performance sports car and these four and six cylinders aren’t enough. Perhaps some out-of-the-box thinking is needed here, but hopefully, next time, Chevrolet will pay more attention to laws that avoid these types of situations in the future.

Were you looking to purchase a new Camaro this year?

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