The New Jersey Business & Industry Association has urged the state Department of Environmental Protection to withdraw its proposal of the ban of new gas-powered cars by 2035 and work with the Legislature on means to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.
In comments submitted to the DEP opposing the state’s adoption of California’s Advanced Clean Car II rule, NJBIA Deputy Chief of Government Affairs Ray Cantor said the proposal will have a negative impact on New Jersey’s economy, particularly those in disadvantaged communities, in the short term and the long term.
He also challenged the DEP on its lack of analysis on how a proposed rule of such magnitude would impact the lives of New Jersey residents.
“We do not see electric vehicles or other zero –emission vehicles as an affordable option for a good part of the State’s citizens at this point in time and we do not believe the affordability issue will change during the phase– in period,” Cantor wrote.
“We believe it will be impossible to support the electrical demand, supply the public and private charging infrastructure, and to provide adequate distribution system upgrades to support a massive increase in electric vehicles.
“Given all the valid concerns, we urge the Department not to adopt this rule at this time. Such a major decision should be made by the Legislature, our elected body, responsive to the public. An EV mandate has too many unknowns, and many objectionable knowns. This mandate that makes cars unaffordable to many, that eliminates consumer choice, and that cannot be practically implemented, should not be adopted by the Department.”
Cantor’s comments were divided into various sections, including affordability, environmental benefit, freedom of choice, and legislative intent.
Excerpts on affordability:
“Low- and moderate-income people are especially impacted by this policy to phase out and then ban the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. But the impacts will go beyond LMI and will impact middle class families as well. Seniors, young people, and families will be especially hard hit and negatively impacted.
“There is no denying or getting around this point. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) in public venues recognized that there will be segments of the population who will no longer afford to own a car. They refer to these people as ‘those who will not own cars.’
“The solution being offered to these people are programs to promote EV buses, ride share, and bicycle ownership. These are not realistic solutions for New Jersey residents who depend on their cars to get to work, shop, vacation, and see their health care professionals.
“Has the Department done any analysis on how this rule will impact their lives? How will this rule impact disadvantaged communities? It is not sufficient to say climate change has negative impacts and therefore any burdens we place on individuals or communities are justified. If the Department is deciding on this rule, then it should be obligated to actually study and evaluate who is being impacted and what those impacts will be.”
Excerpts on environmental benefits:
“The rule summary spent very little time discussing the actual carbon reduction benefits of this rule given the fact that the electricity coming from the PJM grid is produced from facilities using coal, oil, and gas. The Department did not move forward with its boiler rule, in part, because it recognized that the carbon intensity of electricity from the PJM grid exceeded that from onsite, efficient gas boilers.
“While we recognize that there will be some carbon reductions even with the PJM emissions, it is important to note that EVs are not zero– emission devices given their reliance on the generation of electricity and the fact that the grid is not clean. It likely will not be clean, even under the best circumstances, during the life of the cars being mandated under this rule.
“The Department seems to be ignoring the decades of environmental progress that was made under its leadership in addressing particulates, NOx, ozone and other air pollutants. New Jersey is in attainment for particulates. A major achievement not often touted by the Department for reasons unknown. New Jersey is in non-attainment for ozone, but largely because the standards have been lowered after attainment was achieved for the previous standard.
“New Jersey is also part of two metropolitan areas, both north and south, that have largely driven the non-attainment designation. New Jersey has suffered the pain by doing its part. None of this is acknowledged by the Department.”
Excerpts on consumer choice:
“The Department states that this mandate is not limiting consumer choice, but it is actually enhancing consumer choice. The Department is wrong, their comment is Orwellian. The Department knows they are forcing consumers to buy a product they otherwise would not buy.
“If consumers were willing to purchase EVs, then this rule would not be needed. But consumers have rejected EVs at the levels the Department wants so they are making the major decision to take away consumer choice. This draconian mandate in deciding who can drive a car and who cannot and what type of car they can drive is unprecedented and wrong.
“While government has imposed some limits on business, such as reasonable labor laws and environmental regulations, we have prospered because we have been largely free to make our own decisions and to let the market dictate consumer behavior.
“The Department is about to break from those fundamental principles of freedom and liberty and impose the most draconian mandates on markets and consumer choice we have ever seen in this state. They are proposing to change how we drive, what we drive, and even who is allowed to drive.”