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NJBIA Deputy Chief of Government Affairs Ray Cantor told the state Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday that a proposed ban of new gas-powered cars by 2035 will have numerous negative short-term and long-term economic impacts on many New Jersey residents, including an increasing number of people who will no longer be able to afford to drive.

Cantor’s comments came today as the DEP held a virtual public hearing as part of its 60-day public comment period to adopt the Advanced Clean Cars II rule by the end of this year, a directive of Gov. Phil Murphy.

“When you make cars unaffordable, you’re going to end up with a lot of people – much more than we have right now – who cannot afford to own an automobile,” Cantor said. “New Jersey is not California. Automobiles are essential for our way of life in New Jersey – to get to the supermarket, to go to the shore, to visit your doctor.

“We cannot tell people, as California is telling, that your only solution if you’re a low- or moderate-income person and you can’t afford a car is to rideshare or buy a bike or hopefully there’s an EV bus in your neighborhood. That’s not a solution the Department should be putting forth.”

NJBIA recently launched a campaign to stop the Murphy administration’s ban of sale of new gas cars by 2035, as the ramp up to that goal starts with model year 2027 vehicles.

The ACCII rule calls for New Jersey to have 43% of new car sales be EVs, with a small percentage of hybrids allowed. Currently, 8% of new car sales in New Jersey are EVs.

“This is an issue that’s going to happen within the next three years and it’s going to have an immediate impact in limiting the availability of all cars, even if they’re not EVs,” Cantor said. “It’s going to drive the costs of those ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles, and it’s going to drive the price up of used cars as well.

“It’s just a matter of supply and demand.”

Cantor also said the rule was “impractical” to try to achieve the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035 due to not “having enough electricity” and distribution systems on a “larger scale and a neighborhood-type of scale.”

“You can’t put enough chargers in place at homes to be significant,” Cantor said. “And there are a lot of places where you have apartments, condos, densely populated areas, where you know you can’t put enough charging stations in that are convenient. You can’t tell people you need to walk blocks in order to charge their vehicle.

“We should not be dictating and mandating that a single woman or a mother has to walk blocks to her car or spend an hour charging her car in an area she’s not comfortable in.”

Cantor also added that purchasing a car should be a matter of choice based on their personal considerations, like size of family and cost.

“It is fairly arrogant of government to dictate what type of car people can and cannot drive,” he said.

Throughout the first several weeks of NJBIA’s campaign, thousands of New Jerseyans have filled the inboxes of legislators and comment boxes on social media to stop the ban.

Additionally, a coalition of nearly 100 business, labor and nonprofit groups last week sent a letter urging New Jersey legislative leaders to take action to stop the rule before it is finalized, calling the proposed ban “impractical and misguided.”