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Jack Ciattarelli, the Republican who lost the last gubernatorial race to Gov. Phil Murphy, made the case on Friday for a more “rational transition” to electric vehicles, arguing the Murphy administration’s proposal to completely ban sales of new gas cars in 2035 was too much too soon. 

In an op-ed published in the Asbury Park Press, Ciattarelli said the government incentives being used to drive the mandate forward are “insulting and unfair” to working-class people.  

Ciattarelli said only well-off people can afford EVs, which average more than $60,000. They are in turn rewarded with federal and state rebates exceeding $10,000 and are also exempt from paying sales tax on their new EV purchase for an additional savings of about $4,000, he said. Working-class people who will only be able to afford to buy used gas cars in 2035 will still have to pay the state sales tax. 

Additionally, it is unfair that working-class people who continue to drive their older gas cars will have to keep paying the state gasoline tax that funds highway projects – even though EV drivers who use the same roads are not paying the tax to maintain them, he said. 

“New Jersey alone cannot save the planet. And so, extreme mandates that very significantly and disproportionately raise the cost of living for New Jerseyans and unevenly disadvantage our businesses are wrong,” wrote Ciattarelli, who is widely considered to be a gubernatorial candidate in 2025. 

Moreover, there are not enough mineral mines to meet a spike in demand from increased EV battery manufacturing, which is now dominated by China, Ciattarelli said. Additionally, the state won’t have sufficient EV battery charging infrastructure in place by 2035 when the EV mandate takes full effect. 

“The right policy — a more rational transition — includes that which Murphy has completely ignored; namely, other electrified car options, including hybrids and plug-in hybrids (i.e., cars that run on both gasoline and electric batteries),” Ciattarelli wrote. “From a manufacturing standpoint, these vehicles are much more environmentally friendly. Indeed, 90 hybrids can be made from the same materials it takes to build one EV.”  

To read the entire op-ed, go here.