New Jersey sends mixed signals on electric cars

By Ry Rivard | 03/20/2024 06:30 AM EDT

“Right now we are focused on ensuring all drivers are treated the same,” Gov. Phil Murphy’s chief of staff Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said Monday.

A vehicle is plugged into a Electrify America electric vehicle charger.

Critics of the cost increases point to EV fees as more common in red states than ones like New Jersey that want people buying EVs to help curb greenhouse gas emissions. Mike Stewart/AP

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat with some of the nation’s most aggressive climate goals, is looking to raise the cost of electric vehicles by thousands of dollars, in part by adding one of the highest EV fees in the country.

The increases are causing consternation among some of Murphy’s traditional environmental allies. And they come at the same time New Jersey is following California in planning to require all new cars sold in the state by 2035 to be zero-emission vehicles.

A few climate change advocates, including the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, have formed an unusual alliance with the state’s car industry. The coalition also has some support from one of the state’s most powerful lawmakers on climate issues, Senate Environment and Energy Chair Bob Smith.


“To do anything to discourage EVs in the state is a serious policy mistake,” Smith said on Monday — before voting to send a bill that contained an EV fee increase to Murphy’s desk.