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Half of New Jersey residents oppose the Murphy administration’s plans to phase out the sale of new gas-powered vehicles completely by 2035, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released this week. 

In December, New Jersey formally adopted the Advanced Clean Car II program that sets annual sales targets for automakers so that every new car and light-duty truck sold in New Jersey is an electric vehicle or hybrid by 2035. 

NJBIA led a public campaign last fall asking lawmakers to intervene and stop the new gas-car ban, noting that the expedited timeframe for mandating the purchase of more expensive EVs would strain the limited resources of families, businesses, and governments. 

The Rutgers-Eagleton Institute poll, conducted in December, found that while those surveyed saw the policy’s environmental and health benefits, they are concerned about the costs on both a state and personal level. More than half (56%) say they are not likely to buy a new electric vehicle, the poll found. 

“Even as a dozen or so states across the country adopt the same regulations, New Jerseyans are divided on the matter of electric vehicles and the impact they will have,” said Ashley Koning, an assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. 

“It is an issue that is heavily influenced not only by partisanship but also by a hesitancy that likely stems from a widespread lack of information about the vehicles themselves and what the policy entails – not to mention the financial implications and the notable change this would cause in people’s everyday lives.”   

The poll found residents are more likely to oppose (50%) than support (43%) the Advanced Clean Car II (ACCII) program. 

Among the opposition, 35% were in the “strongly opposed” camp while 15% were “somewhat opposed.” Among supporters of the new gas-car ban, 19% said they strongly supported it and 24% said they “somewhat supported” it. The remainder were undecided. 

Most New Jerseyans anticipate the policy will have a positive impact on the state’s air quality (58%) and residents’ health (51%). About a quarter say it will have no impact either way for each (22% and 26%, respectively). 

Nevertheless, there was less optimism among respondents about the mandate’s impact on their financial well-being and the state’s economy. 

On the state economy, 44% think the mandate will have a negative impact, 30% think it will have a positive impact and the remainder saw no impact.   

New Jerseyans are even more concerned about the mandate’s impact on their personal finances: 47% say it will be negative; 19% say it will be positive and 25% say it will have no impact on their finances. 

Over half not likely to purchase an EV  

Of the 56% who said they were unlikely to purchase and EV, 35% said they were “not at all likely” while 21% said they were “not very likely.”  

Among supporters, 13% said they were “very likely” to purchase an EV and 23% said they were “somewhat likely.” Of the remainder, 3% said they already owned an EV and 4% said they didn’t know. 

Most people who said they weren’t likely to consider an EV cited costs (29%). Other reasons cited were concerns about how long and how often it would take to charge the vehicle (12%) and a lack of infrastructure and charging stations (10%). 

Results are from a statewide poll of 1,657 adults contacted through multiple modes, including by live interviewer on landline and cell phone, MMS text invitation to web, and the probability-based Rutgers-Eagleton/SSRS Garden State Panel from Dec. 13 to Dec. 23. The full sample has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.