Rutgers-Eagleton Poll: Half of residents oppose EV mandate

Survey finds Jerseyans see environmental and health benefits — but also economic drawbacks

A closeup shot of a white and red car filling up at a fuel station

Gov. Phil Murphy’s plan to phase out the sale of gas-powered vehicles — and to do it by 2035 — is not going over well with New Jersey residents.

A Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Monday indicated that half of all New Jersey residents did not support Murphy’s plan, which was announced last November and follows the lead of other states.

The idea, part of the “Advanced Clean Cars II” filing, indicates that 51% of all 2028 model year cars sold (they go on sale in 2027) must be EVs. The regulation is expected to give annual increases in percentage of EV sales — jumping to 59% of 2029 year cars, then to 82% of 2032 year cars before hitting 100% in 2035.

While those polled in December saw the policy’s environmental and health benefits, they were concerned about the costs on both a state and personal level — and more than half said they would not be likely to buy an electric vehicle.

Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling, said the financial implications of the regulation played a large part in the results.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

Demographics played a significant role in how New Jerseyans felt about the issue. Support for the 2035 mandate was strongest among Democrats (68%) and reached a majority for groups that historically lean Democratic, such as Black residents (53%); residents who are multiracial or of backgrounds other than white, Black, or Hispanic (57%); those age 18 to 34 years old (53%); urbanites (55%); and those who have done graduate work (56%).

Republicans are the least likely of any group to support the mandate (15%) and the most likely — by far — to oppose it (80%).

Here are numbers on some of the poll questions. The totals do not equal 100% due to rounding and those who were undecided on the question.

Do you support or oppose the goal of phasing out the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035?

  • Strongly support: 19%
  • Somewhat support: 24%
  • Somewhat oppose: 15%
  • Strongly oppose: 35%

Will policy have a positive impact on the state’s air quality?

  • Yes: 58%
  • No impact: 22%

Will policy have a positive impact on health of N.J. residents?

  • Yes: 51%
  • No impact: 26%

How will policy impact state economy?

  • Positively: 30%
  • Negatively: 44%
  • No impact: 12%

How will policy impact your personal finances?

  • Positively: 19%
  • Negatively: 47%
  • No impact: 25%

The 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. 13-23. The full sample has a margin of error of +/-2.8 percentage points.