There is a critical link between transportation fuel usage and climate. In New Jersey, the transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation-related energy use accounts for about 40 percent of total statewide greenhouse gas emissions with on-road gasoline consumption representing the majority of those emissions. Strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector include: making vehicles more energy efficient through technology advances; reducing the carbon content of transportation fuels by using alternative fuels such as electricity, natural gas, biofuel and hydrogen; reducing the number of miles that vehicles travel; and, improving the efficiency of the transportation network.
Fuels with a lower carbon intensity than traditional transportation fuels can reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and support New Jersey's strategy to move to a clean energy economy that will provide jobs and attract new business investments. New Jersey is committed to promoting all clean vehicle and fuel technologies, including natural gas, biofuels, plug-in electric vehicles and innovative technologies like hydrogen fuel cells.
Through innovative programs, technical support, policy development and scientific research, the Sustainability and Green Energy (SAGE) works to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions by helping New Jersey move toward a clean transportation future.
SAGE is partnering with other DEP programs, other New Jersey agencies, other states, the Federal government and interested stakeholders to leverage existing resources and attract private sector investment in electric vehicles and other clean vehicle technologies by:
- Developing a Clean Fuel Standard. A Clean Fuel Standard is a program designed to reduce the greenhouse gas emission from transportation fuels. The program is a market-based approach to address the carbon content of fuels through the use of low-carbon fuel alternatives such as electricity, natural gas or biofuels. New Jersey is participating in a multi-state effort to evaluate a regional Clean Fuel Standard for the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic U.S.
- Facilitating widespread use of low- and zero-emission vehicles. SAGE has initiated discussions with the New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition, utilities, government agencies, communities and the private sector to explore options for developing infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging stations and compressed natural gas fueling stations to accelerate introduction and use of alternatively-fueled vehicles in New Jersey.
SAGE has also worked in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (NJDCA) and the New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition to address concerns identified by plug-in electric vehicle manufacturers that the time, cost and potential delays in local permitting for residential charging equipment could be a significant obstacle for plug-in electric vehicle buyers. As a result, the NJDCA has determined that a streamlined permitting process can be used for the installation of a residential plug-in electric vehicle charging station. For more information concerning NJDCA's streamlined permitting process, go to "Installing a Residential Plug-in Electric Vehicle Charging Station" (pdf).
- Fostering strong regional action. SAGE coordinates DEP’s participation in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), a group of 11 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. TCI includes top environment, energy and transportation officials who are working together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimize transportation systems’ reliance on high-carbon fuels, promote sustainable growth, seek to reduce vehicle-miles traveled, and grow the clean energy economy.
- Supporting the Transportation Portions of the NJ Energy Master Plan. The state’s Energy Master Plan, revised in December 2011, is a road map to guide New Jersey toward a responsible energy future with adequate, reliable energy supplies that are both environmentally responsible and competitively priced. The 2011 Energy Master Plan will include transportation energy use for the first time. SAGE will support implementation of the transportation aspects of the Energy Master Plan by continuing to facilitate the adoption of all clean vehicle and fuel technologies, including natural gas, biofuels, plug-in electric vehicles and innovative technologies like hydrogen fuel cells.
Renewable transportation fuels include liquid and gaseous fuels derived from renewable biomass energy sources. Many renewable fuels achieve lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions reduction relative to fossil fuels. Use of transportation fuels made from renewable supplies of organic material such as agricultural waste, municipal solid waste, certain crops and sustainably grown and harvested wood can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels while promoting local businesses. To accelerate the use of fuels derived from renewable sources, Congress established standards under the Energy policy act of 2005 designed to encourage blending of renewable fuels into the motor vehicle fuel supply. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 includes specific annual volume standards for total renewable fuel and also for the specific renewable fuel categories of cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuel.
SAGE is working with other state agencies and stakeholders to explore the potential for development and use of fuels made from sustainable biomass in New Jersey. Though a number of biofuel feedstocks and technologies are in the development stage, biodiesel is currently the only renewable fuel that is available commercially at a large scale. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel produced from agricultural resources such as vegetable oils. In the United State, most biodiesel is made from soybean oil but canola oil, recycled cooking oils and animal fats are also used. To make biodiesel, the base oil is put through a process called "esterification" which converts the oil into a fatty-acid methyl-ester fuel (biodiesel).. The DEP Division of Air Quality provides guidance on the use of used cooking oil and straight vegetable oil as motor vehicle fuels
There are numerous New Jersey, regional and national agencies, associations, and working groups working on issues related to clean vehicles and fuels. Those groups include: