The DEP is looking to adopt regulations that would set manufacturer zero-emission sales requirements for all mid- to heavy-duty trucks in 2025.  

This week, NJBIA’s Ray Cantor joined members from other vehicle, logistics and shipping organizations in a letter to the agency stressing how this mandate would actually hurt New Jersey’s economy and the environment at the same time. 

“Unfortunately, this is another example of New Jersey setting laudable clean energy goals without considering the impacts on the state’s economy, or even the feasibility of accomplishing such goals,” Cantor said. 

“Putting aside the extreme cost impacts on any business that would need to replace their entire fleet of vehicles – costs that will undoubtedly filter down to all New Jersey’s consumers – there is substantial concern about whether the technology, supply and infrastructure will even exist to support such a mandate in the time frames contemplated.” 

The DEP, through the state’s Protecting Against Climate Threats (NJ PACT) initiative, is seeking to implement California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Rule, which mandates the sales of zero-emission vehicles, as well as its Omnibus Low-NOx Rule, which allows only the sale of engines meeting ultra-low NOx emission standards. 

In the letter to DEP Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, the group noted that California’s rules were only designed for the state’s “unique and extreme air quality problems.” 

Most notably, while California manufacturers are required to sell ZEVs and ultra-low emissions equipment, there is no corresponding requirement for anyone to buy them. 

They wrote: “The California rules will result in huge increases in the cost of a truck; costs that greatly exceed any possible corresponding environmental benefits. The sophisticated purchasers of commercial vehicles — businesspeople who invest their capital in trucks that must earn them a profit — likely will keep their old, higher-emitting products longer or will buy out of state. 

“Truck customers will not purchase new ‘California’ vehicles until their costs are more in line with the cost of otherwise available diesel trucks and without first being assured that the necessary refueling/recharging infrastructure is in place.” 

The group wrote of their support of New Jersey’s clean energy goals, as a whole, but that New Jersey’s plans were “premature” and in need of incentive-based programs. They also encouraged a national ZEV program that will “provide a level playing field and will avoid New Jersey businesses losing sales and jobs to neighboring states.” 

“Rushing ahead to adopt California’s rules in New Jersey will lead to major unintended negative consequences that will hurt the economy, the environment and will set back, not advance, New Jersey’s goals,” they wrote. “While we support New Jersey’s efforts to move towards a ZEV future for commercial vehicles, adopting the California Rules is not the answer.” 

To see the letter in full, click here.