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Ray Cantor, NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs

NJBIA said Thursday that regulations mandating manufacturer zero-emission sales requirements for all mid- to heavy-duty trucks beginning in 2025 fail to consider the impacts on the state’s economy or the feasibility of such goals.

In public comments presented to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding the proposed rules for the Advanced Clean Trucks Program, NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Ray Cantor also said there are much better ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation sector.

Cantor said the state’s clean energy goals would be better served with a federal program instead of one that replicates California’s advanced clean trucks rule.

“We do recognize the need to address carbon emissions from the trucking sector,” Cantor said. “But right now we have substantial concerns about the near-term costs for any business that would need to replace their entire fleet of vehicles – costs that will undoubtedly filter down to New Jersey’s consumers.

“And we also question whether the technology, supply and infrastructure will even exist to support such a mandate in the time frames contemplated.  Rather than adopt the California one-size-fits-all ZEV mandate, we should allow for options like low-carbon fuels, renewable gas, and hydrogen.

“There are better ways to meet our clean energy future, reduce emissions sooner, especially in environmental justice communities, without unnecessarily driving up costs and harming our economy.”

Cantor also noted California’s rules were designed for their unique air quality problems. And, while California manufacturers are required to sell ZEV trucks, there is no corresponding requirement for anyone to buy them.

“So while the California program is a sales mandate, no one is required to purchase ZEVs,” Cantor said. “With that rule in place in New Jersey, a business owner may hold onto older, higher-emitting trucks longer or they can just buy their next truck out of state. This proposal will not reduce emissions but will harm New Jersey businesses.”

Since the DEP rule proposal seeks to simply adopt the California program, Cantor also requested a 60-day extension of the comment period so stakeholders can familiarize themselves with the potential impacts of the standards set in California.

“Ultimately, New Jersey would be better served economically and environmentally with a federal plan, and one with more fuel flexibility, instead of the adoption of the California ZEV-only program,” Cantor said. “While ZEVs may work for some types of trucks, current technologically and costs make these laudable goals unfeasible.

“Let’s allow for all low and lower carbon options to get immediate benefits at lower costs. Let’s account for all costs, such as the cost of replacing fleets, infrastructure and significantly more electricity generation. Right now, we don’t know where the electricity is all coming from and there are no plans to produce it,” Cantor said.