NJ CAR President Jim Appleton issued the following statement in response to the NJDEP adoption of the California Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII) rule.

NJ CAR Statement on Today’s NJDEP Adoption Of The California Advanced Clean Car II (ACCII) Rule

Nov 21, 2023

The California Advanced Clean Car II (ACCII) Rule, adopted today by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), would allow only electric vehicles (EVs) to be available for sale in New Jersey by 2035. This is an extreme government mandate that limits consumer choice and threatens to make new cars unaffordable for working and middle-class families in New Jersey. That is why New Jersey’s neighborhood new car and truck dealers oppose this rule.

Governor Murphy’s morning press release, announcing the adoption of ACCII, is full of glowing reviews from supporters of the California proposal, including many New Jersey mayors who have no authority or oversight responsibilities. What’s missing are any statements of support from New Jersey State Senators or Assemblymembers, including the dozens who spoke out or officially filed comments opposing the adoption of this rule and its unrealistic mandates. These elected officials will ultimately have the final word in this matter and the Governor doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge the valid concerns many of them, on both sides of the aisle, have raised.

NJ CAR is calling on the Legislature to exercise its crucial role in oversight of state agency rulemaking and to engage all stakeholders in reviewing whether this extreme California rule is appropriate for the citizens of New Jersey.

The Governor’s statement says, “the rule does not impose obligations on consumers or car dealers.” We think the Governor knows, full-well, that’s not true because ACCII explicitly prohibits consumers from buying any new vehicle that isn’t an EV from in-State dealerships come 2035. And while New Jersey’s new car dealers want to sell what consumers want to buy, they can only offer for sale what automakers build and allocate to their retailers here. The Governor’s extreme California mandate will disrupt the new car marketplace in New Jersey in ways that will have an immediate and profound impact on consumers and car dealers by limiting choice and driving up the price of ALL vehicles available for sale in New Jersey.

This heavy-handed government approach is likely to backfire, with many consumers choosing not to buy a new vehicle and, instead, holding on to their older, gas-powered vehicles even longer. If consumers cannot afford an EV or it doesn’t meet their family needs, they simply won’t buy an EV here. Instead, they will shop out-of-state to buy the vehicle that fits their budget and meets their needs. As a result, this regulation will slow New Jersey’s roll toward EV adoption and push retail automotive business to states that have not signed on to the California rule.

In the end, consumers will decide when New Jersey becomes a 100% EV market, NOT a Governor or government regulators who won’t even be in office when these mandates kick in and won’t have to deal with the economic and consumer impacts of ACCII. Adopting this California policy, when more flexible options are available, is ill-advised.

Let’s be clear: New Jersey’s neighborhood new car and truck dealerships are “ALL IN” on EVs. Indeed, the 500+ rooftops that make up this critical $40 billion industry already offer 40+ vehicles with a plug and that number will soon grow to 140 models in every vehicle category and at every price point. The industry agrees that the market must continue transitioning from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicles- but disagrees with the Murphy Administration’s goal to blindly impose California’s plan on New Jersey’s consumers.

This plan calls for an increase of EV sales from the current 9% to 43% by 2027, just three short years away. The mandate continues aggressively increasing until it reaches 100% percent by 2035. The goal of 100% sales by 2035 is laudable, but not realistic, since New Jersey consumers have already demonstrated EV demand can’t keep pace with the more modest government mandates already imposed under the current California Clean Car rules. Policymakers should be focused on getting New Jersey EV sales to 15% or 20% before pushing for even higher mandates that will add gasoline to the inflationary fire that New Jersey’s working and middle-class families already face.

The auto industry continues to invest heavily in the transition to EVs at both the dealership and manufacturer level. Nobody is suggesting New Jersey do NOTHING to address the challenge of climate change. But the Murphy Administration shouldn’t ignore other available clean car options that give consumers more choice and would have a lesser impact on vehicle affordability.

The DEP has chosen to ignore other options, like the stringent federal clean car rules recently proposed by the Biden Administration. If New Jersey opted to follow the federal EPA proposal, automakers would still be required to build and deliver more EVs for sale in New Jersey, but consumers would be afforded greater choice and there would be less impact on vehicle affordability. Indeed, in the NJDEP’s commentary accompanying this extreme regulation when it was initially proposed last summer, the Department acknowledged a comparison between the California and federal clean car plans was “difficult” but conceded that ACCII would “increase costs to manufacturers” and that it was “likely that some or all of the increased costs to manufacturers will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.”


About The New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers

The New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers (NJ CAR), founded in 1918, is a non-profit organization serving approximately 500 franchised car and truck retailers throughout New Jersey. NJ CAR promotes the principals of commercial honor and integrity in the sale and service of motor vehicles. The Coalition keeps its members informed on a variety of business matters, practices, trends, and legislation. NJ CAR also works to ensure all members are educated to assure regulatory compliance.