Advocates Urge New Jersey to Catch up to 10 Other States and Adopt the Advanced Clean Cars II Standards This Year

Media Contacts

Trenton — On February 15, Governor Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey was moving forward to propose and adopt the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) program. To that end, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is holding a stakeholder meeting at 9 am ET on Monday, March 13 to kick off the public engagement process to move the state toward proposal and adoption of these standards by the end of 2023.

Citing poor air quality, public health, and climate concerns, advocates are urging the governor to catch up with several other states in the region and adopt ACC II in full this calendar year. 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.

To date, New Jersey is one of the only clean cars states in the region that has not already started the formal process of joining the ACC II program. Other states in the region, including New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Virginia, and Vermont are among those states who have finalized or are on the path to finalization of ACC II this year. Washington, Oregon, and California adopted ACC II in 2022.

Full adoption of this life-saving regulation will set the state on a path to lower vehicle emissions and a healthy transition to electric vehicles and cleaner air, by setting gradually increasing sales targets so that every new light-duty vehicle sold in New Jersey will be a zero-emission or hybrid vehicle by 2035.

The transportation sector accounts for nearly 42% of the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making it the largest emissions source in the state. GHG emissions exacerbate the climate crisis and increase the risk of more extreme weather events, including hurricanes and heat waves, that further degrade air quality and put communities in every corner of New Jersey at risk. Tailpipe emissions also contain harmful pollutants that cause increased risk of asthma, lung disease and cancer. In New Jersey specifically, 13 out of 15 counties that reported air quality data received poor grades from the American Lung Association due to high ozone days.

Full adoption of the ACC II rule in 2023 is critical for New Jersey to reduce air pollution and meet our state’s transportation emission reduction goals.

In response, New Jersey clean air advocates released the following statements:

Two decades ago, New Jersey took bold action by passing the Clean Cars Act. It’s time for the Murphy Administration to finish the job to move towards a cleaner, electric transportation future by proposing and adopting Advanced Clean Cars II rules this year. To act on climate and for clean air and reach Gov. Murphy’s own goals, we need to transweition to electric vehicles. Our neighboring Clean Cars states have adopted or have proposed these rules – the time to act is now so we don’t miss another model year,” said Doug O’Malley, Director, Environment New Jersey.

“We need New Jersey to be a Clean Cars leader in the nation. New Jersey is set to join its neighboring States in adopting Advanced Clean Cars II, a regulation that will not only set standards for the sales of zero emission vehicles, but also kickstart the used-vehicle market for EVs in the state”, said Ramon Cruz, President, Sierra Club. “Nationally, transportation emissions have been on the rise since 2020 and in New Jersey they account for 34% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, the largest of any sector. The quicker we can transition our transportation sector to zero emission vehicles, the quicker we can all experience relief from dirty air and the health impacts caused by it, especially those communities with heavy traffic in New Jersey overburdened with pollution.”

“The electrification of our cars is our present and our future. The EV market is already here, the manufacturers are committed and the public wants the options. For New Jersey, we need to jump in now. The faster the state makes its commitment to achieve the goal of 100% sales of new zero emission vehicles, the easier our transition and the greater the consumer choice”, said Anjuli Ramos-Busot, Director, New Jersey Sierra Club. “With 85% of the world’s car market committed to embracing 100% electrification within the next 20 years, the Advanced Clean Cars standards in New Jersey can help build and maintain market leadership, which is critical to growing jobs.”

“The South Ward faces a pollution onslaught. To be an environmental justice leader, to be ahead of the pack, we must be attacking that pollution on all fronts. Accelerating our transition to cleaner cars and catching up to all these other states is critical to that effort. Governor Murphy needs to adopt Advanced Clean Cars in 2023, our lungs depend on it,” said Kim Gaddy, Founder, Newark’s South Ward Environmental Alliance.

“99% of the world breathes unhealthy air by the WHO standard and nearly 46% of New Jersey’s unhealthy air comes from transportation,” said Lisa A. Cerceo, MD, FACP, FHM, Clinicians for Climate Action New Jersey. “No one is safe from polluted air and children, pregnant women,  frontline communities, the elderly and those with other illnesses are disproportionately affected. At least 8.7 million premature deaths occur annually due to fossil fuel pollution. Cutting emissions from vehicles as quickly as possible will save lives in the Garden State.”

“With so many New Jersey communities suffering from poor air quality from car and truck pollution, relief is sorely needed. After this stakeholder process, New Jersey must move swiftly to start the rulemaking process on the Advanced Clean Cars II rule no later than April to ensure adoption by the end of the year,” said Kathy Harris, Senior Clean Vehicles and Fuels Advocate, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “The Advanced Clean Cars II rule will provide a myriad of benefits to New Jersey, including improved public health, vehicle owner savings, and climate benefits.”

“For our state to fully capitalize on the tremendous economic and environmental benefits of the accelerating EV market, we must move with both speed and scale.” said Richard Lawton, Executive Director, New Jersey Sustainable Business Council. “Doing so requires that New Jersey adopt ACC II standards in time to affect 2035 models as other states have already done.  Any delay will result in a needless, self-inflicted opportunity cost that will significantly hinder our progress and competitive position for many years.  As a leader in the transition to a more sustainable clean energy economy, New Jersey has helped to create this window of opportunity – let’s seize it before it closes.”

“Adopting these standards just makes economic sense. Every year, communities across the Northeast feel punishing impacts from climate-fueled disasters and pollution,” said Uchenna Bright, Northeast Advocate, E2. “In the last 5 years, climate and weather disasters have cost the state $11.7 billion, making it a clear economic threat. By making zero-emission vehicles more readily available, New Jersey can tap into a huge economic opportunity that can help us mitigate the worst impacts from climate disasters while boosting jobs and helping families save money.”

“Adopting the Advanced Clean Cars II rule is a critical step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality in New Jersey,” said Jaqi Cohen, Director of Climate and Equity Policy, Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “By phasing out the sale of new gas-powered cars, ACC II will not only help New Jersey meet its climate targets but also unlock significant economic and public health benefits across the state. New Jersey can’t afford to fall behind on climate action- it’s crucial that the state adopt ACC II this year.”

“New Jersey’s clean energy deadlines aren’t as far away as they seem, and every day of inaction makes it less likely the state will meet its own goals,” said Alex Ambrose, Policy Analyst, New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP). “The Murphy administration must move quickly in adopting clean car rules this year to reduce emissions and improve air quality across the state. This all comes down to what do we want the ‘Next New Jersey’ to look like: a state reliant on polluting fossil fuels, or one with newer and safer clean energy technology?”

“We applaud the Murphy administration for leading New Jersey toward adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II rule. Finalizing adoption by the end of this year is critical to get more clean vehicles on the roads, delivering better air quality and cost savings for New Jersey businesses and consumers,” said Alli Gold Roberts, Senior Director of State Policy, Ceres. “The auto industry and companies across the supply chain have made it clear that zero-emission vehicles are the way of the future, and we encourage New Jersey’s adoption of this pragmatic solution to help increase the availability of electric vehicles for all.”

“Adopting Advanced Clean Cars II in New Jersey will fight climate change, improve air quality, and create jobs in our state,” said Deb Coyle, Executive Director, NJ Work Environment Council. “The Murphy administration should move forward with the rulemaking as fast as possible to ensure we aren’t delayed by another model year, which would put us behind the eight-ball compared to our regional partners, and will ensure the greatest number of electric vehicles hit the road in coming years.”

“The Administration should adopt the Advanced Clean Cars II regulations as soon as possible for New Jersey to ensure we do not fall behind other states in the region,” said Drew Tompkins, Director, Jersey Renews Coalition. “ACC II will help our state reach its climate goals, improve air quality throughout the state, and create jobs. Adopting these rules is honestly a no brainer, since only good will come from the policy.”

“Adopting this next round of clean cars this year is absolutely essential to public health especially in overburdened communities. We can’t be a leader if we’re behind 10 other states. Governor Murphy needs to get in the fast lane, propose the rule this spring and adopt it before 2024 so it can apply to the next model year before it’s too late,” said Amy Goldsmith, New Jersey State Director, Clean Water Action. 

“In 2004, my 7 year old daughter and I, holding my 5 year old son, stood with Governor McGreevey, Senate President Bennett and Congressman Adler (RIP) as the Clean Cars Act was signed into law. It requires us to adopt the strongest standards each time they’re updated. Governor Murphy must catch up with other states and adopt Advanced Clean Cars this year in its strongest form. It shouldn’t even be up for debate as the law requires it and the worsening climate emergency demands it,” said David Pringle, Empower NJ.