CA Moves to Zero Emission Cars by 2035 - NJ Should Too

For Immediate Release 
Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100


Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that will require new cars sold in the state to be electric or otherwise zero-emissions. The state’s clean air regulator, the California Air Resources Board, will develop regulations that ensure every new passenger car sold in the state is electric or is otherwise zero-emissions by 2035. Automakers would have until 2045 to make sure all medium- and heavy-duty trucks and other vehicles were zero-emissions, as well. The order does not prevent Californians from owning or selling used cars with internal combustion engines, or buying them outside the state.

“CA Governor Newsom is standing up for clean air and fighting climate change. His Executive Order will require new cars that are sold in the state to be electric or zero emission. This is a huge paradigm shift when it comes to electric vehicles. By accelerating EV’s, the state will be reducing pollution as well as promoting new technologies and green jobs. This is critically important for clean air as well, especially after President Trump’s continuous rollbacks to clean cars. California is still dealing with the dire reality of climate change as forest fires are scorching the state however they are a leader in standing up to climate change and Trump’s war on the environment,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “California’s EO should set a precedent for all states.  Given the climate urgency, New Jersey should follow suit. We are not sure if the state has to follow under the California Clean Car Law, but we should anyway.” 

In August, five automakers have finalized a deal with California that would circumvent President Trump’s rollbacks of fuel efficiency. The deal would help reduce GHG’s from vehicles, automakers would be granted an extra year and more flexibility to meet GHG targets.

“New Jersey needs more efficient and cleaner cars but should also adopt California’s standard to phase out by 2035. We can accelerate with new technology, green jobs while reducing air pollution dramatically. This is especially important in New Jersey because 45% of our pollution comes from cars, trucks and buses. We also get impacted because we are a corridor state getting pollution from in and out of state from vehicles driving on our turnpikes and other major highways,” said Tittel. “New Jersey also has serious pollution from trucks and buses. People living in urban areas are literally chocking on air pollution especially around our ports. We should follow California by accelerating our program to have all zero emission trucks by 2045. NJ Transit needs to start buying buses now in order to be 100% electric by 2035.”

Each year, American passenger vehicles spew upwards of 3 trillion tons of carbon pollution into the air by burning about 121 billion gallons of gasoline. Trump’s actions will increase our dependence on oil, gas, and coal over renewable energy like solar and wind. By continuing to extract and use fossil fuels we undermine effort to combat climate change. In May, a group of 23 U.S. states, including New Jersey, led by California and some major cities, challenged the Trump vehicle emissions rule. Sierra Club has also sued the EPA over their attack on California’s Waiver.

“New Jersey and the Sierra Club are challenging the Trump Administration’s attempt to stop California’s waiver for emission standards. Rolling back fuel efficiency standards doesn’t just dirty our air, it also costs us more. If cars are less efficient, it will force us to buy more gasoline while raising the price. Electric vehicles are 70 percent cheaper to operate and maintain. This will be a double whammy on our wallets. Auto companies have been spending millions of dollars to develop clean energy and cars and it would cost them billions of dollars to turn around and adopt Trump’s new standards on car emissions. Some California automakers, at least, are trying to prevent that and move forward with their own higher standards,” said Tittel.

In July, the BPU voted to cut $16 million from the electric vehicle program. In April, the Board of Public Utilities approved Docket Nos. QO19050645 and QO20030262 – In the Matter of the Clean Energy Order Program and Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2nd Budget Revision and Electric Vehicle Program Compliance Filing. The FY2020 Budget Revisions approved by the BPU include $5 million of the total $30 million going toward administrative costs. The table in the proposal suggests that that $5 million will solely be for administration of the Charge Up New Jersey Program, which has a budget of $15 million.

“New Jersey is doing very little to move forward with EV’s, we need to do more. This is our chance to change to capitalize on cleaner technology, reach our goal of 330,000 EV’s on the road by 2025, and promote more green jobs. More importantly we tackle the leading cause of major air pollution in this state so that people can breathe easier. New Jersey’s electric vehicle program is only minimal. We need to make it larger and follow California’s lead. We need to remove the roadblocks now and step on the gas,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Given the climate emergency, New Jersey has to do a lot more. We need to expand and accelerate our zero emission and EV program. Then we can grow a green economy while reducing climate impacts and air pollution, and saving people money.” 


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