The New Jersey General Assembly passed a bill (A-1728) that will require electric vehicle charging stations to be installed at rest areas along the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway. Under the bill, sponsored by Tim Eustace, Daniel Benson and Liz Muoio, EV charging stations are required to be installed in at least 5 percent of service area parking spaces in service areas with at least 100 spaces to which the public is invited.
“There is nothing worse than running out of gas on a dark and busy highway. It’s not only a nuisance; it is not safe,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic), who owns an electric car and knows first-hand the difficulty of finding a charging station. “The number of electric cars being driven on our roads may not match the number of gas-fueled cars, but we still have a responsibility to provide these drivers with sufficient fueling and charging stations, especially on heavily-travelled highways.”
The US Dept. of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC), shows that there are currently about 165 electric vehicle charging stations in New Jersey with around 380 individual charging ports.
“There is little point in investing in an electric car if the infrastructure is not there to support it,” said Eustace. “This bill helps residents who already own electric cars, as well as those who are considering buying one, but are worried about the accessibility of charging and refueling stations.”
According to a 2012 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 report stated that with the right policies in place in New Jersey, plug-in vehicles could reduce oil dependence by more than three million gallons per year.
The bill was approved 44-25-2 by the Assembly and is now headed to the Senate.