New Jersey will prohibit the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 as part of an effort to improve air quality and reduce planet-warming pollutants, officials announced Tuesday.
A rule that will take effect Jan. 1 commits the state to an eventual move toward zero-emission vehicles, the state Department of Environmental Protection said in a news release.
It is one of a growing number of states to do so, including California, Vermont, New York, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Virginia, Rhode Island, Maryland and Connecticut, according to Coltura, a Seattle-based nonprofit advocating for an end to gasoline vehicle use.
New Jersey will start limiting the amount of new gasoline-powered cars that can be sold in the state starting in 2027, eventually reaching zero in 2035.
The move does not prohibit ownership or use of gasoline-powered cars, not does it force consumers to buy electric vehicles, the DEP said. It will not prohibit the sale of used cars powered by gasoline, and consumers would still be free to purchase gas-fueled cars elsewhere and bring them into New Jersey, as long as they met certain emissions standards.
“The steps we take today to lower emissions will improve air quality and mitigate climate impacts for generations to come, all while increasing access to cleaner car choices,” said Phil Murphy, the state’s Democratic governor.
“Cleaner cars and trucks mean cleaner air for our children and families, because the tailpipes of our own vehicles are a leading cause of poor local air quality,” said Shawn LaTourette, the state’s environmental protection commissioner. “As New Jersey transitions to a zero-emission vehicle future, we will improve our quality of life and public health. At the same time, we will reduce climate pollutants from the transportation sector, the greatest source of planet-warming pollution in New Jersey and the nation.”
The rule has been hotly opposed by business groups since word that the state was moving to implement it started circulating earlier this year.
Ray Cantor, an official with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said over 100 business, labor and other groups have sent nearly 10,000 letters to state legislators “asking them to step in to stop a proposed DEP rule that will ultimately mandate what type of car residents can drive, and in some cases, if they can afford to drive.”
“This ban of the sale of new gas-powered cars in such an expedited time does not take costs or feasibility into account,” he said. “It does not take the lack of local and highway infrastructure into account. It does not take grid capacity into account. It ignores consumer choice. It doesn’t take New Jersey residents into account, especially low- and moderate-income families.”
Environmental groups hailed the decision.
“This is a huge win not only for the environment, but for public health and the communities who suffer every day from the pollution from congested roadways,” said Anjuli Ramos-Busot, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
“The electric vehicle revolution is upon us, and the benefits are far-reaching — even for those who never plan to get behind the wheel of an EV,” added Kathy Harris, an official with the Natural Resources Defense Council.