New Jersey just took a massive step on clean transportation; more states should follow

Media Contacts
Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG

N.J.’s ambitious plans to electrify vehicles set an example for other states


TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey set a new benchmark today in addressing the nation’s number one source of global warming emissions: transportation. Gov. Phil Murphy signed a groundbreaking electric vehicle bill into law that offers a clear roadmap for state houses and governors nationwide to tackle climate change.

“New Jersey just put every other state looking to lead on clean transportation on notice,” said Matt Casale, U.S. PIRG’s transportation campaign director. “Bold action such as this is not only possible, but it is also what we need to tackle the climate, public health and transportation challenges America faces. Residents of New Jersey can breathe a little easier this weekend. To other states looking to lead on climate and public health: It’s time to act.”

The new law makes it easier for residents of New Jersey to buy an electric vehicle (EV) by providing a largest-in-the-nation rebate of up to $5,000. It also creates a statewide high-speed charging network, making driving an EV more convenient. Beyond cars, the law also requires NJ Transit to only purchase electric buses, which offer a clean, carbon-free alternative to driving, by 2032.

“New Jersey is one of the fastest warming states in the nation, and we’re thankful that Governor Murphy and other state leaders are embracing climate solutions.” said Morgan Folger, Environment America’s clean cars campaign director. “But climate change transcends state boundaries. Luckily, we have a simple solution to minimize global warming and air pollution: Every state should make electric vehicles more convenient and affordable.” 

Doug O’Malley, the director of the Environment America’s affiliate Environment New Jersey, introduced Gov. Murphy at today’s bill signing. O’Malley’s colleagues at the other affiliates of the national nonpartisan advocacy groups U.S. PIRG and Environment America are working to enact similar EV policies in their states.

Action on EVs is expected in several states in 2020. Here are some of the initiatives that are underway:

  • California is working toward meeting a goal of 5 million EVs by 2030 by accelerating its installation of charging stations.

  • In Florida, advocates are asking the state to allocate money from the federal settlement with Volkswagen toward new electric car charging stations, cleaner engines for school buses and public transit, and technology to decrease emissions from airport vehicles, tug boats and trains. 

  • Maine legislators are considering a bill that would expand the number of electric buses.

  • In Massachusetts, pending legislation would require all buses and state-owned vehicles to be electric.

  • New Mexico is witnessing a push to enact an electric vehicle tax credit, install more charging stations, and encourage cities to purchase electric buses.

  • In Texas, advocates are working with government and transit agencies to transition to electric buses and increase public education on EVs and charging.

  • Virginia recently introduced a bill that will create a grant program to replace all diesel school buses with electric ones by 2030.

  • Wisconsin state leaders are considering committing to a plan to electrify all of the state’s vehicle fleet. 

“Every advance we make on electric vehicles helps mitigate climate change, minimize air pollution and protect our lungs, “ said Folger. “New Jersey is setting a great example, and no matter what state you live in, that’s a good thing.”


Environment America is a national network of 29 state environmental groups. Our staff work together for clean air, clean water, clean energy, wildlife and open spaces, and a livable climate. Our members across the United States put grassroots support behind our research and advocacy. Environment America is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.

U.S. PIRG and Environment America are part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.