New Jersey governor aims to end sale of gas-powered cars by 2035

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 31: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ) (R) and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (L) (R-AR), Chairman of the National Governors Association, speak outside the White House after a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and members of the National Governors Association on January 31, 2022 in Washington, DC. The National Governors Association concludes its three day winter meeting today. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — New Jersey’s governor announced Wednesday that he is planning to move his clean energy goal up 15 years, which would require all new cars and trucks sold in the state to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035 instead of 2050.

During his climate change address at Rutgers University, Gov. Phil Murphy said that his administration is revisiting the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in an effort to rejoin “a comprehensive and collaborative multi-state partnership to curb the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.”

Previously, Murphy set a goal of achieving a 100% clean energy economy by 2050 but said during his climate change address that he was moving up that goal by 15 years.

“But we must and do govern with a deep and abiding belief that we cannot leave our kids and grandkids to fate. We must take this on. We must take it on now,” Gov. Murphy said. “And we are.”

A big part of Murphy’s plan to fight climate change is to severely reduce the “single-greatest source” of greenhouse gas emissions in his state: cars and trucks.

“The next two steps maintain our focus on getting more of the new and cleaner generation of vehicles in New Jersey’s garages and on our roads by motivating and supporting the fast-growing electric vehicle market with reforms that will help ensure that, by 2035, the new cars sold in New Jersey will all be zero-emission vehicles,” Murphy said.

He plans to use $70 million of the state’s proceeds through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to fund local-government purchases of all-electric trucks and charging infrastructure.

Murphy’s changes will add New Jersey to the growing list of states, including California and Wyoming, already working to require that all new cars and light-duty trucks sold in the state by 2035 be zero-emission vehicles.

The Bergen Record reported that the governor said he will sign an executive order enforcing the clean energy change. He said he will also pair it with support for a clean electricity standard as well, his office confirmed to the newspaper.

Murphy has set a target to electrify 400,000 residential buildings and 20,000 commercial buildings by 2030, Politico reported. But the cost of switching from natural gas to electric heat would be astronomical, estimated to be approximately $35,000 to electrify a single house, the Bergen Record reported.

Republican lawmakers have called Murphy’s changes “extreme, expensive, and totally unrealistic,” saying that the state’s electric grid is already struggling.

According to State Sen. Anthony Bucco, the original plan was estimated to cost $1.4 trillion. He said the change would be an “absolutely astronomical financial burden for homeowners, businesses and taxpayers,” according to the Bergen Record.


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