FDU Poll: Majority of N.J. voters support increased fees for EVs

Voters also want gas tax and registration revenues used for roads and bridges — not to subsidize NJ Transit

New Jersey voters supported the recently passed fees on electric vehicles by more than a 2-1 margin, according to the latest FDU Poll.

The survey questions, which monitored the opinions of voters on transportation funding, also showed that a majority of voters (58%-34%) wanted gas tax and vehicle registration revenues to be dedicated to funding roads and bridges, rather than used to subsidize New Jersey Transit.

“The question of extra fees on EVs is interesting, because it requires a trade-off between environmental initiatives and road maintenance, both things that New Jersey residents generally support,” FDU Poll Executive Director Dan Cassino said. “But, when push comes to shove, voters care more about keeping the roads maintained.”

A law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy will charge EV drivers an annual fee on top of their normal yearly registrations starting July 1. That fee is $250 this year and will rise $10 per year until it reaches $290.

The poll, sponsored by the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey, showed that 65% of New Jersey voters said they support these additional fees on electric vehicles, with only 29% opposed. Democrats are a little less likely than Republicans to support the measure (63% among Democrats, versus 72% among Republicans), but it has the support of strong majorities in both parties. Older voters also are more likely to support it than younger voters.

Eric DeGesero, executive vice president of the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey, lauded the administration and Legislature for addressing this issue earlier in the year.

“These poll results reaffirm the decision of Gov. Murphy and the state Legislature to ensure that everyone who uses New Jersey’s roads, highways and bridges is paying into it,” DeGesero said. “EVs don’t pay into the gas tax and are currently exempt from paying the sales tax, yet they put heavy wear and tear on our roads and bridges due to the excessive weight of their car batteries.

“As our state looks to fund the Transportation Trust Fund in the years to come, it only makes sense to ensure that owners of expensive EVs pay their fair share.”

A separate question on the poll asked voters about how revenues from the gas tax and vehicle registration should be used. Currently, funds from the Transportation Trust Fund — which is funded by the gas tax — are used for road, bridge and highway construction and maintenance, as well as supplying capital funding for NJ Transit projects. Respondents in the survey were asked whether the revenues from the gas tax should be used for such road works, or for the road works and NJ Transit. By a margin of 59% to 34%, they said NJ Transit should not be receiving funding from the gas tax.

“Funding for NJ Transit has been a recurring issue in New Jersey,” Cassino said. “Ticket fees are never going to be enough to support the system, but people who don’t use NJ Transit just don’t see a reason why they should have to pay for it.”

Democrats in the state were the most open to using gas tax money for NJ Transit (51% supporting), but the idea was underwater among both independents (60% to 36% against) and Republicans (78% to 16% against). Regional variation in the use of NJ Transit also played a role: Support for using gas tax money for NJ Transit was highest (44%) in the urban core counties of Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex and Union, but, even there, a majority (51%) said the monies should be used just for roads and bridges.

“Despite its fiscal woes, New Jersey Transit receives revenue from a variety of funding sources, including $440 million in New Jersey Turnpike toll revenue in the 2024 fiscal year,” DeGesero said. “The majority of voters understand that it doesn’t make sense to siphon off more money from our roads and bridges to subsidize a fiscally dysfunctional NJ Transit system.

“We cannot jeopardize our roads and bridges or force drivers to pay more, especially since NJ Transit is used daily by only 1 in 10 New Jerseyans. NJ Transit needs to figure out how to live within its own means.”

DeGesero also noted that, despite the Murphy administration’s mandate of new EV sales, the state needs to more than double the number of EVs ever sold in the state to meet its goal of 330,000 EVs by the end of 2025.