Last week, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy signed a new rule into law, banning new ICE vehicle sales from 2035 onward in the Garden State, while carving out an exception for used gasoline vehicle sales.
State residents will also be allowed to buy ICE vehicles out-of-state and register them in New Jersey provided they meet certain emissions requirements.
Under the Advanced Clean Car II program, which Jersey adopted from California, existing ICE vehicles can also continue to be owned and driven and there is no requirement to buy or own an EV in the state. Both gasoline and diesel vehicles will continue to be legal on the state’s roads, with the emissions proviso noted above.
The ban is phased in over time rather than simply being an abrupt cutoff in 2035. It starts in 2027 with a mandate that 43 percent of new “light-duty” vehicles, including passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs, must be EVs. The amount increases annually to 100 percent in 2035.
Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, says the new legislation will “improve air quality and mitigate climate impacts for generations to come.” He also asserted that the rule will have the effect of “increasing access to cleaner car choices” Other officials noted the wider use of EVs will improve air quality, while 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions currently come from gasoline and diesel vehicles.
Republican senator Michael Testa Jr. blasted the move as “forcing this foolish transition to all-electric vehicles.” He said rural areas with low or no charging infrastructure would be negatively impacted and declared that the rule “jeopardizes the job security of mechanics and auto shops, local gas stations, and the used car market.”
The automotive sector in New Jersey, previously supportive of EVs, is voicing strong opposition to the new rule. “The mandate will restrict choice for consumers and make new cars virtually unaffordable for middle-class and working families,” according to president of the state’s Coalition of Automotive Retailers Jim Appleton.
Various other business associations express similar objections, while thousands of individual businesses have written letters complaining about the new rule. Charging infrastructure is also relative undeveloped compared to some state networks.
New Jersey joins ten other states across the U.S. that have adopted California’s rule and its call to phase out ICE sales by 2035. Environmental proponents say the reduced pollution will benefit even people who continue to exclusively drive only ICE vehicles. GM has declared its intention to end sales of new ICE passenger vehicles by 2035, while 40 percent of the company’s U.S. models will be battery-electric by the end of 2025.
The new rule will be entered officially in the New Jersey Register and go into effect on the same day, December 18th, 2023.