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The comment period for New Jersey’s proposed ban of new gas cars by 2035 ended with a flood of legislators from both political parties telling the Department of Environmental Protection to pull back on it. 

Now the question is: Will the Legislature actually try to step in to stop it? 

“The DEP is going to want to rush to finalize this rule before the end of the year, or it will miss covering vehicle model year 2027,” said NJBIA Deputy Chief of Government Affairs Officer Ray Cantor. 

“We’ve heard plenty of legislative voices say they oppose this proposed rule, particularly among Democrats. Undoing such a rule is complicated and could take years. If the Legislature wants to step in, there’s no time like the present. 

“When it comes to something that’s going to impact so many lives in New Jersey well before 2035, and with no analysis of those impacts from the DEP, it really should be, at the very least, in the Legislature’s purview to hit the pause button on this with some hearings.” 

NJBIA has vocally opposed the adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II rule, as it 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. 

NJBIA has also maintained that highway and local infrastructure will not be in place for the rule to work, the grid will not be able to handle the demand of an all-electrification policy in New Jersey and that consumers should have freedom of choice. 

As part of its campaign to stop the state’s ban of new gas cars, nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents have sent letters to Trenton lawmakers asking them to step in, with thousands more stressing their opposition to the proposed rule on NJBIA Facebook pages. 

In addition to nearly 100 business and labor groups opposing the rule, John Harmon, CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, said the ACCII rule amounts to a “hefty transportation tax” on communities and businesses of colors in a Mosaic OpEd earlier this month.  

And as reported in Politico this past week, Democrats who are considered “safe” in this year’s legislative elections also sent letters to DEP with a wide range of messaging ranging from either stopping or backing off the rule until more research on impacts isare done. 

Last month, Vin Gopal, a Democratic senator from District 11 with a history of support for environmental protections in New Jersey, warned of the unintended consequences of Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed ban of the sale of new gas cars in the state by 2035 in an Asbury Park Press OpEd. 

On Thursday night, Gopal called into a NJ101.5 Town Hall hosted by Eric Scott about the subject of the EV mandate and said the Murphy administration “has not done a great job here as far as clarity in what this looks like.” 

“I know that my local power company, JCP&L, does not have local infrastructure in place,” Gopal said. “We are sitting on a unique, large amount of federal funds right now and I don’t know why the administration has not been more aggressive.  

“I think the Legislature is going to push them very hard when we go back in for lame duck to start using these federal funds to get us to 100% clean energy but to do it through incentives, not through mandates.  

“The people who are going to wind up being hurt are the poorest New Jersey residents who aren’t going to have the options, who aren’t going to have that electric car or that electric stove,” Gopal said.