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Why Chevy's high-performance Camaro models have been banned in CA, WA

Bizarrely, the brake pads are to blame. Don't worry, we'll explain.

2020 Chevrolet Camaro LT1
No new high-performance Camaros for those of you in California and Washington.

Residents of California, and Washington for that matter, won't be able to buy a 2021 Chevy Camaro SS, 1LE or ZL1 locally as both states have banned the pony car over the use of brake pads that do not meet state regulations. Specifically, the use of copper is a no-no in both states.

According to a report from Muscle Cars & Trucks on Tuesday, the copper requirements mean none of the high-performance models will be sold in the two states, though other Camaros will still be available. A Chevrolet spokesperson confirmed the news with Roadshow and said the copper brake pads will bar customers from ordering the cars for delivery after Jan. 1, 2021.

"We will resume allowing customers in California and Washington state to order the Camaro SS, ZL1 and 1LE models in the 2022 model year when we introduce a new brake system that is compliant with the copper requirements," the spokesperson said. "Customers can, however, purchase these models from available dealer stock in those states," so if you need a Camaro SS, 1LE or ZL1, get your order in before the beginning of next year.

The law passed in California 10 years ago under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger with the goal of reducing toxins associated with the material from entering the water supply. It first targeted brake pads with trace amounts of heavy metals and asbestos in 2014. In 2021, the law expands to outlaw brake pads containing more than 5% copper. In 2025, it essentially bans copper from brake pads. Washington enacted nearly identical regulations in 2012.

Naturally, the law only affects the sale of new models. If you've got an existing car with copper in your brake pads -- Camaro or otherwise -- you're in the clear.

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