NJBIA Deputy Chief Government Affairs Officer Ray Cantor issued the following statement regarding the reported adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II rule by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The rule mandates that no new gas-powered cars be purchased in New Jersey by the year 2035, with targeted annual mandates of electric vehicle sales starting in 2026.
“Over the past 10 weeks, nearly 10,000 letters were sent to members of New Jersey’s Legislature asking them to step in to stop a proposed DEP rule that will ultimately mandate what type of car residents can drive – and in some cases, if they can afford to drive.
“More than 100 business and labor groups asked the Legislature to step in. Groups representing minorities and lower-to-middle income residents publicly opposed, as did lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle.
“Automotive retailers, which have already invested billions in electric vehicles, also warned that a heavy-handed mandate will not work for the dealers – especially with unsold EVs piling up on lots all 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.
“Overwhelmingly, comments sent to the Department opposed the ACCII rule, or recommended changes. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were included in those commenters.
“But at the end of the day, the DEP did not heed any of those concerns, nor did it offer any solutions to them. Such major decisions should be made by our elected legislators, not bureaucrats in Trenton. The ban on new gas-powered cars flies in the face of calls to make New Jersey more affordable.
“As has been stated repeatedly, we can and should all work to reduce carbon emissions. And the marketplace would have likely seen a natural increase of EV users with an organic time frame to build appropriate capacities.
“This ban of the sale of new gas-powered cars, however, in such an expedited time does not take costs or feasibility into account. It does not take the lack of local and highway infrastructure into account. It does not take grid capacity into account. It ignores consumer choice. It doesn’t take New Jersey residents into account, especially low- and moderate-income families. And it doesn’t take the lack of actual environmental benefit into account.
“The near-term, targeted mandates will increase the prices of both new and used gas-powered cars. And it will prove problematic for the majority of gas-car drivers when a ramp up of EV users don’t pay into the Transportation Trust Fund.
“The impacts of this unworkable mandate will be felt sooner than later, with 43% of new car sales required to be electric by model year 2027. The cost of all cars, both new and used, will rise as consumer choice becomes more limited.
“It is our hope that the Legislature finally exercises its authority to apply the brakes to this bureaucratic overreach before the problems with this mandate start. We call upon our lawmakers to stop this rule before it takes effect. The time to act is now.”