New Jersey, often hailed as the Garden State, is taking significant strides towards a greener future. State officials, led by Governor Phil Murphy, recently unveiled the Advanced Clean Cars II rule, set to be adopted on December 18. The plan aims to address the environmental challenges posed by internal combustion engines (ICE) in vehicles, which contribute substantially to air pollution. This initiative aligns New Jersey with other environmentally conscious states like California, Vermont, New York, and Washington, who are mandating an increase in zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in new light-duty vehicle sales. The plan’s ultimate goal is to achieve 100% ZEVs by 2035.
Governor Murphy’s Pledge for Cleaner Air
Governor Murphy expressed confidence that the Advanced Clean Cars II rule would have a lasting positive impact on the environment. In a statement on November 21, he stated, “The steps we take today to lower emissions will improve air quality and mitigate climate impacts for generations to come, all while increasing access to cleaner car choices.” Notably, the plan does not impose direct obligations on consumers or car dealers. Instead, it places compliance responsibilities on manufacturers, mandating them to meet an annual ZEV requirement, progressively increasing the percentage of electric vehicles sold in New Jersey. The rule, effective from model year 2027, also imposes more stringent exhaust emission standards on traditional gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles.
Mixed Reactions and Future Outlook
Despite the environmental merits, the plan faces criticism from some quarters. Ray Cantor, Deputy Government Affairs Officer at the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, expressed reservations, stating that “the failure of this policy can be seen nationally as manufacturers cut back on their previous commitments to EVs and have called for a pause in any mandates.”
Cantor argued that major decisions of this nature should be made by elected legislators rather than bureaucrats in Trenton. However, supporters, including Anjuli Ramos-Busot, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, hailed the initiative as a “huge win” for the environment, public health, and communities affected by road-related pollution.
As the Garden State takes bold steps toward a cleaner automotive future, the announcement comes at a time when electric vehicle goals are being tempered by automakers. While the federal government has set a goal for 50% of new car sales to be electric by 2030, New Jersey’s commitment to phasing out gasoline-powered vehicles is a significant move that will shape the state’s environmental landscape for generations to come.