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November 26, 2012

Although it ranks 12th in the U.S. when it comes to state clean energy policies, New Jersey could be doing quite a bit more, according to a recent report by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The survey, which is produced by the NRDC annually, shows the state dropping when it comes to leading on clean energy policy solutions in the past six years.

On the other hand, New Jersey is less dependent on gasoline price increases than almost all states, ranking 48th in the country. Nevertheless, the average New Jerseyan still spent 4.31 percent of his/her income on gasoline in 2011, according to the report.

The NRDC report calls states “critical players” when it comes to creating less oil-intensive transportation habits and urges states to act unless they want to exacerbate national security, environmental, and economic harm due to our current transportation habits.

New Jersey won plaudits in four areas: advanced vehicle technology policy; smart growth policies; idling restrictions; and transit spending. The advanced vehicle policy requires large vehicle manufacturers to designate a certain percentage of sales in the state to be zero-emission vehicles. The Garden State also got credit for having smart growth policies, in the form of the state plan and transit village programs.

However, the NRDC bemoaned the fact that New Jersey does not have programs to reduce the amount of vehicle miles travelled. The state does have restrictions on idling, which consumes gasoline, and spends $77.76 per urban resident on transit.

Besides not having a vehicle miles traveled or petroleum reduction targets, New Jersey was dinged for not requiring the use of alternative fuel vehicles in state fleets and not having a low-carbon fuel standard.

As might be expected, California, followed by Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut were ranked one through six for clean energy policies. Delaware was ranked 11th and Pennsylvania was ranked 15th. Nebraska was ranked last, and at least a few states -- Mississippi, Arkansas, Idaho, and North and South Dakota -- were given no credit for clean energy policies while being ranked as among the most vulnerable to higher oil prices.

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