(The Center Square) — New Jersey will join a handful of states in banning the sale of new fossil fuel-powered vehicles over the next 12 years, despite critics claiming that the shift to electric vehicles will be too costly for consumers.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced that he has finalized new regulations that will require car manufacturers to ramp up sales of electric vehicles in New Jersey, leading to a ban on the sale of new fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2035.
Murphy said the lower emissions “will improve air quality and mitigate climate impacts for generations to come, all while increasing access to cleaner car choices.”
The new rules will apply to cars and medium and heavy-duty vehicles, including tractor-trailers, garbage trucks and other larger vehicles, requiring at least 5% sold by 2027 to be electric and 60% by 2035, according to the Murphy administration.
By doing so, New Jersey joins Rhode Island, Maryland, Connecticut and New Mexico in announcing plans to adopt the tough rules based on California’s strict emission standards. Massachusetts, New York and Vermont are also finalizing similar e-vehicle mandates.
“This is a big moment for cleaner cars in New Jersey,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment 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.”
But the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, which opposed the state’s adoption of the rule, said it doesn’t address the lack of demand for electric vehicles among consumers who can’t afford the cost of switching from fossil fuel-powered cars and trucks.
Ray Cantor, the group’s deputy chief government affairs officer, said a “heavy-handed mandate” won’t get more electric vehicles on the roads — “especially with unsold EVs piling up on lots around the country.”
“The failure of this policy can be seen nationally as manufacturers cut back on their previous commitments to EVs, and have called for a pause in any mandates,” Cantor said in a statement.
New Jersey Republicans also criticized the state’s move to adopt the California-modeled standards, saying it will force people to buy expensive electric vehicles and could impact regional power supplies.
Republican Sen. Michael Testa said New Jersey doesn’t have the infrastructure to support a rapid transition to e-vehicles and said the mandate will “disproportionately hurt rural New Jerseyans.”
“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,” he said. “Residents living in the rural areas of New Jersey are most at risk of being hurt by this disastrous mandate.”