Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrat Tim Eustace to promote the use of environmentally friendly and energy efficient vehicles in New Jersey, by encouraging the creation of electric vehicle charging stations or any other source that supplies electricity for the charging of electric vehicles in transportation projects, was advanced Monday by a Senate panel.
“These vehicles are not only better for the environment, but better for your pocket book in the long run. If we want to encourage people to invest in fuel efficient, environment friendly cars, then we have to develop the infrastructure to promote it and sustain it,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic), who owns an electric car and knows first-hand the difficulty of finding a charging station.
The bill (A-2416) encourages the state Department of Transportation to examine and promote the development of electric vehicle charging stations or any other source that supplies electricity to recharge plug-in electric vehicles, as part of any project financed by the Transportation Trust Fund Authority.
According to the New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition, an organization promoting the transition from petroleum-fueled vehicles, there are some 84 plug-in electric charging stations in New Jersey, but the majority are in residential garages and not available to the public. According to a report by Environment New Jersey, a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization, more than 13,000 drivers in New Jersey could purchase their first plug-in vehicle within the next three years. The same report, which was released this past summer, stated that with the right policies in place in the Garden State, plug-in vehicles could reduce oil dependence by more than 3 million gallons per year.
“Many people are opting for these vehicles for environmental reasons. But there is little point in having one if there are insufficient charging stations to keep them running,” said Eustace. “By investing in this infrastructure, we can help meet the state’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage environmental responsibility, which will help make New Jersey a greener place to live.”
The bill was approved 57-18-4 by the full Assembly in October. It was released Monday by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.