TRENTON – Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced Thursday that New Jersey has signed on as a member of a network of states in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic region that will collaborate on a plan to promote electric vehicles and vehicles that use alternative fuels such as natural gas and bio-fuels to help improve air quality throughout the region.
The goal of the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network, a direct outgrowth of the regional Transport and Climate Initiative, is to accelerate the development of infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging stations needed to drive market demand for electric vehicles. The network includes New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
“The Christie Administration is committed to improving New Jersey’s air quality,” Martin said. “Diversifying the types of vehicles that people in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic drive to include more electric, hybrid and alternate-fuel vehicles is a very important part of improving our air quality. The Northeast Electric Vehicle Network will provide the planning needed to develop and spur the construction of infrastructure that will drive market demand for these vehicles. At the same time, this effort will lead to job creation and economic growth.”
Last month, the Transportation and Climate Initiative received a $994,500 U.S. Department of Energy planning grant to assist in the development of guidelines for the permitting and installation of electric vehicle charging stations to make the charging of vehicles convenient to consumers. One of the hurdles to driving demand for electric vehicles is ensuring that motorists have convenient locations to charge their vehicles when driving longer distances.
In New Jersey, the DEP will continue to work in partnership with the New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition to engage stakeholders that include industry, municipalities, clean vehicle advocates and the environmental community to leverage existing resources and attract private sector investment in electric vehicles and other new clean vehicle technologies.
Gasoline-powered vehicles contribute to about half of New Jersey’s air pollution. By helping to move the region from a fossil fuel economy to a clean energy economy, the effort will bolster economic growth, reduce dependence on foreign oil and reduce air pollution.
Nearly 40 percent of New Jersey’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. Cleaner vehicles and fuels are critical for reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions as required by the New Jersey Global Warming Response Act.
A recent study by Pike Research forecasts that the New Jersey-New York-Pennsylvania region will be among the top five metropolitan areas for electric vehicle purchases between 2011 and 2017.
Spurred by work being done at the DEP as well as growing demand, a number of electric vehicle initiatives are already under way in the Garden State. Electric vehicle charging stations have been installed in some New Jersey municipalities, including Montclair and Avalon, and at Rutgers University’s Piscataway campus and at the Bergen County Community College. In addition, companies such as Benjamin Moore and Johnson & Johnson have built solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations to power their fleets.
New Jersey signed a declaration of intent in June 2010 to participate in the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative. This regional coalition consisting of 11 states and the District of Columbia works to reduce greenhouse emissions, minimize reliance on high-carbon fuels, improve efficiency of freight movement, expand the use of innovative information technology, promote sustainable growth and reduce vehicle-miles traveled.
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