State Director, Environment New Jersey
State Director, Environment New Jersey
Trenton — Today, Governor Phil Murphy announced that the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is officially proposing the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII) standards. Publication in the New Jersey Register is anticipated for August 21, more than six months after the Governor’s announcement of his intention to adopt this life-saving program. 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, and more than 1,200 New Jersey residents have called Gov. Murphy’s office in support of swift adoption.
New Jersey continues to trail behind almost every other clean car state 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 (CARB) 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. This could all but guarantee interested New Jersey residents will be shopping in a neighboring ACCII state to purchase their EV or hybrid vehicle of choice.
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, flash floods, and heat waves, that further degrade air quality and put communities in every corner of New Jersey at risk. The state has most recently experienced the impacts of the climate crisis with historic levels of wildfire smoke from Canadian forest fires, massive thunderstorms as recently as last weekend, record high Atlantic Ocean temperatures, and a string of high ozone days.
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.
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, NJ 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 world-wide 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,” said Doug O’Malley, Director, Environment New Jersey.
“New Jersey is one of the last states in the Northeast region to propose Advanced Clean Cars II, far behind our neighbors. This imperative policy, which is crucial to cutting emissions from New Jersey’s dirty transportation sector, needs to be adopted before the end of the year so that another model year is not missed. It would be a shame to miss it by just one month of delay,” said Anjuli Ramos-Busot, New Jersey Director, Sierra Club. “The New Jersey Sierra Club thanks NJDEP and Governor Murphy for moving forward with this important rule proposal and are eager to see this rule adopted before the end of the year so that New Jersey can be a leader in clean transportation, and meaningfully jumpstart this new green industry.”
“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,” says Pamela Frank, CEO, ChargEVC-NJ. “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.”
“New Jersey can no longer ignore the urgent reality of the climate crisis,” said Alex Ambrose, Policy Analyst, New Jersey Policy Perspective. “Record-breaking heat waves and dangerous air quality are a threat to everyone in the state, especially those living in already overburdened communities. The rapid adoption of Advanced Clean Cars II will reduce air pollution and bring us closer to a cleaner future. Now, the Murphy administration must quickly adopt and implement this initiative so New Jersey doesn’t fall behind other states that already made this commitment. We can’t afford to wait any longer.”
“We applaud the Murphy administration for moving New Jersey toward adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II rule. Swift adoption is critical to get more clean vehicles on the roads and promises to deliver better air quality and propel cost savings for New Jersey businesses and consumers,” said Alli Gold Roberts, senior director, state policy, at 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 swift adoption of this pragmatic solution to help increase the availability of electric vehicles for all.”
“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,” said Amy Goldsmith, New Jersey State Director, Clean Water Action. “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,” said Kim Gaddy, Founder, Newark’s South Ward Environmental Alliance. “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.”
“The adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC) rule is a step in the right direction for New Jersey,” said Felicia K. Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics. “This bold action will yield benefits for cleaner air and public health for current and future generations.”
“We applaud today’s announcement as an important step toward New Jersey adopting ACC II standards, which will incentivize companies to innovate and redirect investment in ways that will help accelerate the transition to a healthier, clean energy economy,” said Richard Lawton, Executive Director of the NJ Sustainable Business Council. “Relying on market-forces alone to create a more sustainable and fairer economy is too risky and slow. That’s why adopting forward-thinking policies like ACCII are so critical and will help New Jersey become and even better place to live and work.”
“Moving forward with ACCII will help us fight climate change, improve air quality in some of our most polluted communities, and create jobs as we build out the necessary charging infrastructure,” said Drew Tompkins, Director, Jersey Renews Coalition. “This policy will be a major win for our state, and we implore the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt the rule before the end of the year.”
“With so many New Jersey communities suffering from poor air quality from car and truck pollution, we need policies in place to address the issue,” said Kathy Harris, Senior Clean Vehicles and Fuels Advocate, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “It’s exciting to see New Jersey begin the rulemaking process on the Advanced Clean Cars II and sign on to the COP26 zero emission declaration to address the greenhouse gases and other pollution emitted from transportation. The Advanced Clean Cars II rule, if enacted by the end of 2023, will provide many benefits to New Jersey, including improved public health and vehicle owner savings.”
“We are extremely excited for New Jersey’s adoption of Advanced Clean Cars II, getting thousands more electric vehicles on t7e road while solidifying New Jersey’s role as a climate leader. This rule adoption will directly lead to improved air quality, public health, climate safety, and financial savings,” said Allison McLeod, Senior Policy Director, New Jersey LCV. “Furthermore, since the majority of New Jerseyans – particularly low-income drivers – purchase used vehicles, it will also help with the purchase of affordable vehicles in the secondary market.”
“Car emissions are one of our state’s biggest drivers of greenhouse gas emissions and today’s action from the Governor’s office moves us one step closer to taking bold action to address this problem,” said Cecelia Leto, Program Director, NJ Work Environment Council. “Furthermore, car emissions cause ground level pollution in our most populated areas and by adopting ACCII, we will create healthier, safer communities.”
“In 2004, my asthmatic 7 year old daughter, 5 year old son and I holding my 2 yr old daughter stood side by side with Governor McGreevey, Senate President Bennett and Congressman Adler (RIP) as the Clean Cars Act was signed into law,” said Empower NJ’s David Pringle. “It requires us to keep up with California. With today’s forward movement, Governor Murphy gives us the chance to comply with the law that the worsening climate emergency demands.”