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Sparks

New Jersey Is the Latest State to Go All-EV

Gov. Phil Murphy announces new rules aiming to wean the state off internal combustion passenger vehicle sales by 2035.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy just announced a rule requiring that all new cars sold in the state must be electric by 2035, with interim goals starting for model year 2027 and ramping up from there.

Meeting these goals will take an aggressive push given that as of June, just 1.8% of the state’s light duty vehicles were electric, according to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. To help with the transition, New Jersey offers rebates — up to $4,000 — on top of federal tax credits towards EV purchases. And though the Garden State has just 911 public charging locations as of February, compared to California’s 16,000, it plans to add 500 more by 2025.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the state’s EV advocates greeted Murphy’s announcement with optimism. “Our state needs to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and after this announcement we are no longer sitting in the slow lane while other states pass us by on clean energy,” Alex Ambrose, a climate policy analyst for New Jersey Policy Perspective, told local news outlet NJ Advance Media.

The new rule is based on a 2022 California regulation known as Advanced Clean Cars II, making New Jersey one of 17 states, including New York and Maryland, to adopt all or part of California’s low- or zero-emission vehicle regulations. Crucially, as Kate Klinger of the Governor’s Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy toldROI-NJ, Advanced Clean Cars II does not affect the sale of used cars. So just as a federal assault weapons ban wouldn’t mean AR-15s suddenly disappear, so too do EV sales targets allow for the continued existence of internal combustion vehicles.

Will that make 2035 the beginning of a new environmental culture war — new-car liberals versus used-car conservatives? We can only hope. As a native New Jerseyan, I’ll look forward to the day when our most vigorous debate is no longer whether the state’s favorite breakfast meat should be called “Taylor ham” or “pork roll.”

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Jacob Lambert profile image

Jacob Lambert

Jacob is Heatmap's founding multimedia editor. Before joining Heatmap, he was The Week's digital art director and an associate editor at MAD magazine.

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The Capitol.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

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Cal Fire trucks.
Heatmap Illustration/Screenshot/KUSI-TV

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Hysata.
Heatmap Illustration/Screenshot/YouTube

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