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NJBIA Deputy Chief Government Affairs Officer Ray Cantor issued the following statement regarding Gov. Phil Murphy’s announcement today that the state will follow California in mandating that 100% of new cars sold in New Jersey be electric vehicles by 2035, as well as the governor’s support for a bill expediting 100% clean energy standards by 2035.

“There is nothing wrong with trying to reduce carbon emissions and we support cleaner energy, as well as creating jobs. But in mandating an energy transition in such a short time range, we should know – from the start – what the overall, actual costs will be for New Jersey residents or the feasibility of such aspirational goals.

“The California gas car ban that New Jersey is modeling includes unrealistic interim targets that mandates 35% of new passenger vehicles sold by 2026 produce zero emissions. That number increases to 68% by 2030. According to a recent analysis, only 5% of new car sales in the U.S. are powered by electric only.

“That is an improving number which will increase more. However, such a steep ramp-up in electric-only vehicles over 12 years in New Jersey seems impractical, if not impossible, when you consider the lack of charging infrastructure and planning for it. Such a policy also begs the obvious question of where all this increased power will be sourced from.

“Additionally, the increased costs of these vehicles must be considered. Purchase incentives that we have seen over the past year will likely not be permanent.

“Regarding achieving 100% clear energy status by 2035, New Jersey’s current Energy Master Plan set that status for 2050 without any real answers over the course of years as to actual costs or feasibility.

“As a basic premise, our decarbonization goals should not be looked at from one side of the ledger. The fossil fuels that the EMP seeks to fully replace are the basis of New Jersey’s and the world’s energy supply, using infrastructure that has been built up for over a century.

“The all-electrification policies the administration seeks ignores or discounts other options for carbon reduction that will develop over time, such as hydrogen, renewable natural gas and other emerging technologies. While we support our wind and solar industries, we cannot decarbonize our electricity sector by renewables alone.

“Natural gas has been the primary factor in all our carbon reduction efforts to date. It is an essential fuel for both heating and electricity production. It cannot simply be willed into non-existence, especially under expedited and arbitrary deadlines. Aspirational goals with unrealistic mandates and without pragmatic, practical approaches will ultimately fail.”