Plan would force 100% “zero-emission vehicles” for sale in New Jersey by 2035 as your only “choice”
November 21, 2023
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette today announced the filing of the Advanced Clean Cars II rule for adoption on December 18, setting the state on the road toward better air quality and cleaner choices for new car buyers while combatting the worsening climate crisis. New Jersey joins a growing number of states that are requiring vehicle manufacturers to make zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) an increasing percentage of their new light-duty vehicle sales beginning in model year 2027, ramping up to 100% ZEVs by 2035.
The rule does not impose obligations on consumers or car dealers and provides compliance flexibilities for manufacturers. It requires manufacturers of passenger cars and light-duty trucks to meet an annual ZEV requirement intended to increase the percentage of electric vehicles sold in New Jersey. The rule also ensures that traditional gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles are manufactured to meet more stringent exhaust emission standards, which will positively impact air quality in New Jersey communities, especially those near high-traffic corridors. The rule will take effect starting in model year 2027, providing time for auto industry transition and continued development of charging infrastructure and a more robust and cleaner electrical grid in New Jersey. It does not ban gasoline cars, nor does it force consumers to buy EVs. Rather, the rule will provide certainty to vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, utilities, and charging infrastructure companies to make the long-term investments that will be crucial to large-scale deployment of light-duty ZEVs and consumer choice.
“By filing the landmark Advanced Clean Cars II rule, New Jersey builds upon its standing as a national leader in climate action and its participation in the global Accelerating to Zero commitment,” said Governor Murphy. “The steps we take today to lower emissions will improve air quality and mitigate climate impacts for generations to come, all while increasing access to cleaner car choices. Indeed, together with my Administration’s continuing investments in voluntary electric vehicle incentives, charging infrastructure, and the green economy, these new standards will preserve consumer choice and promote affordability for hardworking New Jerseyans across the state.”
The rule will be published in the Dec. 18 edition of the New Jersey Register. A courtesy, pre-publication copy of the rule will be posted in early December to the DEP Rules and Regulations webpage.
Senator Michael Testa criticized the Murphy administration for filing a series of misguided electric vehicle regulations that bans the sale of gas-powered vehicles. The proposed transition to all-electric vehicles by 2035 could have devastating effects on the farming, fishing, energy, and manufacturing industries in the first legislative district, said the senator.
“Governor Murphy’s extreme electric vehicle mandate could disproportionately hurt rural New Jerseyans. The infrastructure needed to support charging electric vehicles is not evenly distributed throughout the State and it is not easily accessible in most rural communities in South Jersey,” said Testa (R-1). “Forcing this foolish transition to all-electric vehicles could not only lead to job losses and economic instability, but it also jeopardizes the job security of mechanics and auto shops, local gas stations, and the used car market. Not to mention the older residents and businesses that live and operate in my district that may have difficulty trying to adapt to the new regulations if certain shops or gas stations go out of business.”
Governor Murphy’s Department of Environmental Protection filed the Advanced Clean Cars II rule today, which mandates all new car sales in New Jersey to be electric by 2035. To meet this target, more than half of all new car sales in New Jersey must be electric by 2027.
“It’s no secret that Governor Murphy likes to follow California’s lead, but this mandate fails to consider the serious impact that producing and disposing of electric vehicle batteries has on the environment,” Testa continued. “Failing to sufficiently address these concerns could have a devastating environmental impact on South Jersey farms, fisheries, and manufacturers.”
Senator Testa characterized Governor Murphy’s ill-conceived energy priorities as a “disaster plan” for the State and is exploring legislation to protect rural South Jersey communities from the governor’s costly electric vehicle mandate.
“Rural communities deserve to choose whether to drive a gas-powered car, electric vehicle, or hybrid. Governor Murphy and the Democrats should not be making this choice for them,” Testa concluded. “Residents living in the rural areas of New Jersey are most at risk of being hurt by this disastrous mandate.”
“Cleaner cars and trucks mean cleaner air for our children and families, because the tailpipes of our own vehicles are a leading cause of poor local air quality,” said Commissioner LaTourette. “As New Jersey transitions to a zero-emission vehicle future, we will improve our quality of life and public health. At the same time, we will reduce climate pollutants from the transportation sector, the greatest source of planet-warming pollution in New Jersey and the nation.”
“Today’s action by Governor Murphy and the New Jersey DEP is a major step in our fight against the worsening climate crisis,” said U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. “This rule will reduce climate pollution while also saving New Jerseyans money at the pump and spurring investments in building clean cars right here at home. Paired with the investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, New Jersey’s action will accelerate the process of transforming our transportation sector for the benefit of public health and the environment.”
“As Newark continuously moves toward a healthier and more economically successful community, we welcome the Advanced Clean Cars II Rule, knowing it will reduce emissions that degrade our environment and cause respiratory problems like asthma,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “As the largest automobile transportation hub and energy generation center in the state, Newark has much to gain through this rule, through greater investment into ZEVs, more jobs for city residents, and more availability of these vehicles for motorists. I congratulate Governor Murphy and thank the EPA for this planet-friendly initiative that benefits people right here in our community and beyond.”
“New Jersey is taking bold action right here at home under the leadership of our governor Phil Murphy,” said Mayor Hector C. Lora, City of Passaic. “By adopting the Advanced Clean Cars II Rule and implementing zero-emission vehicle standards, our state is leading the way in improving air quality, combating the climate crisis, and promoting clean vehicle choices. This initiative not only benefits the health and well-being of our residents in NJ but also sets a strong example for other states to follow. For urban municipalities like mine and so many other underserved and vulnerable communities around our State it really does mean the world to know that when it comes to our planet our leaders are looking out not just for our today but for everyone’s tomorrow as well. Together, we can create a greener, more sustainable future for generations to come.”
“As Mayor of the City of Plainfield, I wholeheartedly commend Governor Murphy and the Department of Environmental Protection for their forward-thinking and crucial adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II Rule,” said Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp. “This landmark decision marks a significant step in our collective journey toward a cleaner, more sustainable future. In Plainfield, we are not only supporters of this vision but active participants in this environmental revolution. Our recent acquisition of 21 hybrid vehicles to replace our municipal fleet is a testament to our commitment to improving air quality, fighting climate change, and embracing clean vehicle choices. By aligning our local efforts with the State’s ambitious goals, Plainfield is decisively moving towards a future where environmental sustainability and public health are paramount. Together, we are setting an example for other communities to follow, ensuring a healthier, cleaner New Jersey for generations to come.”
“I am very pleased to see the continued efforts by Governor Murphy to promote clean energy technologies and to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions in New Jersey in a reasonable and thought out manner,” said Princeton Mayor Mark Freda. “Being such a densely populated state, reducing these emissions improves our environment, helps us address climate change and helps to improve everyone’s health.”
“Clean cars will help improve air quality in our urban centers that make up the most densely populated state,” said Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora. “I applaud Governor Murphy’s efforts to move us in forward gear for this effort.”
“The adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II program in New Jersey is a historic and monumental step in our transition toward a cleaner transportation sector, and carbon and co-pollutant emission reductions. ACC II will provide increased consumer choice to make EV’s more accessible to New Jersey residents. This is a huge win not only for the environment, but for public health and the communities who suffer every day from the pollution from congested roadways,” said Anjuli Ramos-Busot, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We thank the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Governor Murphy for prioritizing New Jersey’s public health. We look forward to seeing a lot more zero-emission vehicles on our roads in the very near future.”
“The electric vehicle revolution is upon us, and the benefits are far-reaching — even for those who never plan to get behind the wheel of an EV. By adopting Advanced Clean Cars II standards, New Jersey is making a commitment to cleaner air, improved public health, and climate change mitigation,” said Kathy Harris, Senior Clean Vehicles and Fuels Advocate, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Thanks to these standards, New Jersey will have avoided at least 175 premature deaths and at least 170 hospital visits from polluted air by 2050. The program will also bring cost-savings to New Jersey vehicle owners of nearly $60 billion by 2050.”
“This is a big moment for cleaner cars in New Jersey. Electric vehicles are reaching an inflection point and as we are likely experiencing the hottest year on record yet, this is the time to reduce climate pollution,” said Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey. “New Jersey was one of the first states to adopt Clean Cars standards 20 years ago and today’s decision for New Jersey to join the bevy of other states to adopt the latest Clean Cars standards will put 40% of the nation’s auto market on an accelerated EV adoption pathway. Gov. Murphy, the entire Murphy Administration and the NJDEP deserve tremendous credit for ensuring that New Jersey adopted the program this year, ensuring that more electric vehicles will be available for New Jersey drivers.”
“Today NJ takes its rightful place as a leading state in the exciting electric vehicle transformation,” said Pam Frank, ChargEVC-NJ CEO. “All of us will benefit from cleaner air and by the purchase of home-grown electricity that pumps millions of dollars back into New Jersey’s economy.”
“Adopting the Advanced Clean Cars II rule will get more clean vehicles on the roads and deliver better air quality and cost savings for New Jersey businesses and consumers,” said Alli Gold Roberts, senior director, state policy, at Ceres. “New Jersey businesses, including members of Ceres’ Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance, support ACC II because it will help them gain access to the volume and variety of EVs they need to meet their corporate sustainability and climate goals. By taking this step, Governor Murphy has solidified New Jersey’s position as a global climate leader and a smart place to do business.”
“As a network of companies committed to advancing market innovation and policy change for a more sustainable economy, we applaud the Murphy administration’s decision to adopt ACCII standards,” said Richard Lawton, Executive Director of the NJ Sustainable Business Council. “Consumers and companies are experiencing first-hand how EVs are cleaner, technologically superior, and less costly to operate and maintain than internal combustion engines. By accelerating the growth of the EV market, ACCII will spur continued investment and innovation in the transition to a clean energy transportation sector. Thanks to this decision, New Jersey can look forward to increased economic development, more good-paying jobs, and cleaner air.”
“This policy shows that New Jersey will not back down from fossil fuel industry pressure and misinformation,” said Alex Ambrose, Policy Analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective. “Adopting the Advanced Clean Cars II initiative will lead to a cleaner, greener, and safer New Jersey. Transitioning away from gas-powered vehicles means everyone in the state will breathe easier, especially those who live in communities closest to congested roads and highways. Thanks to the Murphy Administration, the Garden State is once again a leader in advancing clean energy policies.”
“The transportation sector is the largest source of climate-harming pollution in New Jersey, generating roughly 40% of our emissions. We are pleased Governor Murphy is taking important steps to advance and adopt the Advanced Car II standards to improve air quality and public health as well as saving drivers money over dirty fossil fuels from the pump,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey LCV. “Not only do EVs cost less over their lifespan than a fossil-fuel powered car, they do not spew out toxic pollutants that affect the health of our communities. This is a critical moment for New Jersey to join the wave of states moving towards a clean transportation future, provide business with certainty, and to ensure New Jersey can access the full range of economic and public health benefits of the transition.”
Emissions from the transportation sector constitute the largest source of climate pollution in New Jersey at 37% of those emissions. By increasing ZEV sales and the stringency of the multi-pollutant exhaust emission standards, the state will also reduce emissions of localized air pollution from nitrogen oxides (NOx) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that will provide important public health benefits, especially in urbanized areas and overburdened communities.
With the new rule, vehicle manufacturers must ensure that 43% of their annual production volume in 2027 is ZEVs. The percentage increases each year, peaking at 100 percent in 2035 and thereafter.
The adoption of the Advanced Clean Car II rule is an evolution of rules adopted by the DEP in 2006 which incorporated, by reference, California’s ZEV requirement and emission control standards for all model year 2009 and subsequent passenger cars and light-duty trucks.
Consumer demand for electric vehicles continues to rise. The number of EVs in New Jersey has grown to more than 123,000, representing 12 percent of new vehicle sales. Since just last December, sales have surged 50 percent.
In 2007, New Jersey’s Legislature passed the Global Warming Response Act (GWRA), N.J.S.A. 26:2C-37 et seq., which recognized that climate change, primarily caused by emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, poses a threat to the planet’s ecosystems and environment.
In 2019, the Legislature amended the GWRA to require the State to develop programs to reduce emissions of both greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants through a comprehensive strategy. In 2020, the Department released the GWRA 80×50 Report, which analyzed New Jersey’s emissions reductions, evaluated the plans for further reducing emissions, and presented a set of strategies across seven emission sectors, including transportation, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 2006 levels.
A successful EV transition through the Advanced Clean Car II rule depends on adequate access to charging infrastructure and sufficient charging points across the state, including home charging, which is the most convenient and frequently used, and usually the least-cost source of electricity for charging.
The Murphy Administration, through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Board of Public Utilities, Economic Development Authority, and Department of Transportation continues to advance funding and initiatives to develop charging infrastructure. Since 2019, the State has funded 2,980 charging stations with 5,271 ports at 680 locations.
The Administration continues to work toward the development and expansion of wind, solar, energy storage, and other clean energy technologies in New Jersey, while ensuring that infrastructure, interconnection, and electricity supply meet the increased charging demand of ZEV users.
Press pool file photo.