Murphy formally proposes clean cars rules to phase in new electric vehicle sales

--FILE--New E150 electric vehicles are displayed at an auto plant of BAIC Group in Beijing, China, 23 July 2014. Chinese state-backed carmaker BAIC Motor intends to seek listing approval from the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong in mid-September, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday announced that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is officially proposing the Advanced Clean Cars II standards.

Publication in the New Jersey Register is anticipated for Aug. 21. The rule proposal will kick off a 60-day public comment period and create a tight end-of-year deadline for the rule’s adoption this calendar year.

To date, NJDEP has held a series of informal meetings, but not initiated the rule-making process. A public stakeholder meeting in March received overwhelming public support for the program.

New Jersey trails other clean car states in the region. New York, Massachusetts and Vermont proposed and adopted the program at the end of last year. Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island and Virginia have proposed or adopted the Clean Car program this calendar year. Across the country, Washington, Oregon and California adopted ACC II in 2022, and New Mexico and Colorado are poised to finalize adoption this calendar year as well.

The ACCII program, finalized by the California Air Resources Board in August 2022, would ramp up sales requirements for new passenger vehicle cars and light trucks to be electric vehicles (with a small percentage of plug-ins) over the course of the next decade, with a 100% EV sales requirement by 2035.

Adopting the program this calendar year will trigger the requirements to kick in in Model Year 2027, but a further delay into 2024 would mean a missed model year, more than 90,000 fewer EVs on New Jersey’s roads by 2030 and fewer used EVs available for consumers.

Adopting ACC II in New Jersey this year would result in reducing light-duty CO2 emissions 72% below 2021 levels in 2035, 80% for NOx emissions, 72% for PM 2.5 and 73% for SO2.

According to a recent Energy Innovation report, New Jersey could also reap significant economic benefits from the rule, including more than $682 in annual household cost savings, nearly 31,000 avoided lost workdays by 2050 and 368 avoided premature deaths by 2050.

In response to today’s announcement, New Jersey clean air and climate advocates release the following statements:

  • “Two decades ago, New Jersey took bold action by passing the Clean Cars Act. Today’s Advanced Clean Cars II rule proposal from the Murphy administration moves us closer to a cleaner, electric transportation future that gets us off oil and fights the largest source of climate pollutants. Amidst a worldwide heat wave and a string of ozone alert days, it is imperative for New Jersey to join other leading Clean Car states and adopt these standards by the end of this year to ensure we’re getting more electric vehicles on New Jersey roads,” Doug O’Malley, director, Environment New Jersey, said.
  • “Today’s announcement on ACCII is one necessary, but not sufficient tool in reducing climate and health harming emissions that come from the cars we drive,” said Pamela Frank, CEO, ChargEVC. “Timing matters. It is notable that the governor is following through on his announcement in February and is working to get these regulations in place before the end of the year. We also applaud his signing of the COP26 declaration — however, it is important to highlight that the action on ACCII brings the tangible results of more varied state-of-the-art electric cars for mass consumption in New Jersey — a real-world impact that can’t come fast enough.”
  • “Proposing this rule now puts us in the fast lane and gives us just enough time to adopt it this year before we lose another year,” Amy Goldsmith, New Jersey state director, Clean Water Action, said. “It is absolutely essential to public health especially in overburdened communities and would put us in the lead pack with 10 other states.”
  • “The South Ward faces a pollution onslaught. To be a climate and environmental justice leader, to be ahead of the pack, we must be attacking that pollution on all fronts,” Kim Gaddy, founder, Newark’s South Ward Environmental Alliance, said. “Accelerating our transition to cleaner cars and catching up to all these other states is critical to that effort. We need to adopt Advanced Clean Cars II in 2023, before it’s too late; our lungs depend on it.”