Governor Murphy Announces that New Jersey will Advance Life-Saving Advanced Clean Cars II Standards

Media Contacts

New Brunswick — Today, Governor Phil Murphy announced that he has directed the state Department of Environmental Protection to propose adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) program by the end of 2023. ACC II would 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 vehicle (ZEV) by 2035.

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

Adopting ACC II this year would result in reducing light-duty CO 2 emissions 72% below 2021 levels in 2035, 80% below for NOx emissions, 72% below for PM 2.5 and 73% for SO2 by not missing another model year to enter the Clean Cars program.

The transportation sector accounts for nearly 46% 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 to today’s announcement, New Jersey clean air advocates released the following statements:

“Nearly 20 years ago, New Jersey was the original state leader on Clean Cars, with the adoption of the Clean Cars program through the NJ Legislature. The next step in clean transportation in our state is a rapid acceleration of electric vehicle sales over the next decade plus, sparked by the federal climate investments last year. Neighboring Clean Cars states like New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Virginia, and Vermont have already adopted or proposed Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) rules for their state, and it is imperative that New Jersey join other climate leaders in the region and across the country by proposing these protections this spring to adopt these standards. This is a welcome step and we urge the Murphy Administration to move forward as quickly as possible on full adoption of ACC II, join our neighboring states and finalize these clean car rules  by the end of this calendar year. Participation in ACC II will provide market certainty to allow more electric vehicles to come to the state, provide a clear path to reduce climate and air pollutants from our vehicles to clean our air and climate, and speed the transition to an electric vehicle future,” said Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey. “This process should be paired with increased state investments in electric vehicle infrastructure to expand the EV charging network and increase consumer confidence. Nearly 20 years ago, NJ took a bold move to clean up our air and climate by passing the Clean Cars law. 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 this calendar year.”

“Adopting these common sense standards will help New Jersey get the zero-polluting cars and trucks they want, while curbing the dangerous tailpipe pollution that harms peoples’ health. With automakers increasing investments in electric vehicles and expanded federal tax credits kicking in, the transition to a cleaner future is accelerating quickly,” said Kathy Harris, Senior Advocate, Clean Vehicles and Fuels, at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “Our communities deserve a firm commitment to move clean car standards forward in New Jersey.  It is vital that the state begin the stakeholder process by April in order to finalize the rules by the end of the year—which will help to maximize the benefits to New Jerseyans. ”

“It is essential for the adoption of ACC II to occur before the end of this year in order for NJ to not continue to enter into this incrementally goal-setting regulation behind many other States that would ultimately dictate the future EV market. The longer we wait to adopt this rule, the lesser our chances are at securing more EV options in the state, and the harder to achieve the goal of 100% of new sales by 2035,” said Anjuli Ramos-Busot, Director of NJ Sierra Club. “A stakeholder process is a necessary step, however this must be done quickly and efficiently to ensure ACC II is adopted by the end of 2023, and for NJ to join our neighboring states in this transition. Thank you Governor Murphy for this commitment.”

“While it’s in our power to create a more sustainable and fairer economy, relying on market-forces alone would keep us on an increasingly risky business-as-usual path. Forward-thinking policy leadership is critical in making course-corrections toward a better future” said Richard Lawton, Executive Director of the NJ Sustainable Business Council. “Today’s announcement is exactly the type of concrete policy action that we need more of.  Adopting the ACC II standards will incentivize companies to innovate and redirect investment in ways that will help accelerate the transition to a healthier, clean energy economy.”

“Today’s announcement moves us one step closer to adopting Advanced Clean Cars II regulations in our state, which will reduce emissions, improve air quality, and create jobs for New Jerseyans by getting more electric vehicles and the accompanying, required infrastructure onto our state’s roads,” said Deb Coyle, Executive Director of NJ Work Environment Council.

“We continue to call for the quick adoption of Advanced Clean Cars II standards for NJ and today’s announcement moves us one step closer to that goal,” said Drew Tompkins, Director of the Jersey Renews Coalition. “Electric cars reduce climate and other air pollutants, which is critical as we look to reach our greenhouse gas reduction targets and make New Jersey a leader in the green economy.”

“New Jersey consistently earns some of the worst air quality rankings in the country, and transportation is by far the largest source of air pollution in the state,” said Alex Ambrose, Policy Analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP). “The Advanced Clean Cars II program incentivizes and prioritizes a transition to electric vehicles, and full adoption will demonstrate the Murphy administration’s clear commitment to protecting the health of New Jersey families. This is an important step in a larger portfolio of initiatives — including investing in public transportation and creating more walkable communities — that will make our state healthier.”

“We applaud the Murphy administration for leading 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 adoption of this pragmatic solution to help increase the availability of electric vehicles for all.”