Majority of NJ Voters Support Increased Fees for EVs

Majority of NJ Voters Support Increased Fees for EVs

Voters also want Gas Tax and Registration Revenues Used for Roads and Bridges – not Subsidizing NJ Transit

Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ, April 24, 2024 – According to the latest results from the FDU Poll, sponsored by the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey, New Jersey voters support the recently passed fees on electric vehicles by more than a 2 to 1 margin. The survey questions, which monitored the opinions of voters on transportation funding, also show that a majority of voters (58-34) want gas tax and vehicle registration revenues to be dedicated to funding roads and bridges, rather than used to subsidize New Jersey Transit.

“The question of extra fees on EVs is interesting because it requires a trade-off between environmental initiatives and road maintenance, both things that NJ residents generally support,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of Government and Politics at Fairleigh Dickinson, and the Executive Director of the poll. “But when push comes to shove, voters care more about keeping the roads maintained.”

Overall, 65 percent of NJ voters say that they support the additional fees on electric vehicles, with only 29 percent opposed. Democrats are a little less likely than Republicans to support the measure (63 percent among Democrats, versus 72 percent among Republicans), but it has the support of strong majorities in both parties. Older voters are also rather more likely to support it than younger voters.

Eric DeGesero, Executive Vice President of the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey, lauded the Administration and Legislature for addressing this issue earlier in the year. A law signed by Governor Murphy will charge EV drivers an annual fee on top of their normal yearly registrations starting July 1. That fee is $250 this year and will rise $10 per year until it reaches $290.

“These poll results reaffirm the decision of Governor Murphy and the state Legislature to ensure that everyone who uses New Jersey’s roads, highways, and bridges is paying into it,” said DeGesero.  “EVs don’t pay into the gas tax and are currently exempt from paying the sales tax, yet they put heavy wear and tear on our roads and bridges due to the excessive weight of their car batteries.  As our state looks to fund the Transportation Trust Fund in the years to come, it only makes sense to ensure that owners of expensive EVs pay their fair share.”

DeGesero also noted that despite the Murphy Administration’s mandate of new EV sales, the state needs to more than double the number of EVs ever sold in the state, to meet its goal of 330,000 EVs by the end of 2025.

A separate question on the poll asked voters about how revenues from the gas tax and vehicle registration should be used. Currently, funds from the transportation trust fund – which is funded by the gas tax – are used for road, bridge and highway construction and maintenance, as well as supplying capital funding for NJ Transit projects. Respondents in the survey were asked whether the revenues from the gas tax should be used for such road works, or for the road works and NJ Transit. By a margin of 59 to 34 percent, they said that NJ Transit should not be receiving funding from the gas tax.

“Funding for NJ Transit has been a recurring issue in New Jersey,” said Cassino.  “Ticket fees are never going to be enough to support the system, but people who don’t use NJ Transit just don’t see a reason why they should have to pay for it.”

Democrats in the state are the most open to using gas tax money for NJ Transit (51 percent supporting), but the idea is underwater among both independents (60 to 36 against) and Republicans (78 to 16 against). Regional variation in the use of NJ Transit also played a role: support for using gas tax money for NJ Transit was highest (44 percent) in the urban core counties of Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, and Union, but even there, a majority (51 percent) said that the monies should be used just for roads and bridges.

“Despite its fiscal woes, New Jersey Transit receives revenue from a variety of funding sources, including $440 million in NJ Turnpike toll revenue in the 2024 fiscal year,” said DeGesero.  “The majority of voters understand that it doesn’t make sense to siphon off more money from our roads and bridges to subsidize a fiscally dysfunctional NJ Transit system.  We cannot jeopardize our roads and bridges or force drivers to pay more, especially since NJ Transit is used daily by only 1 in 10 New Jerseyans. NJ Transit needs to figure out how to live within its own means. “

Methodology

The survey was conducted between April 1 and April 8, 2024, using a voter list of adult New Jersey residents carried out by Braun Research of Princeton, New Jersey. Voter lists were obtained from Aristotle International of Washington, DC. Respondents were randomly chosen from the list, and contacted via either live caller telephone interviews, or text-to-web surveys sent to cellular phones, resulting in an overall sample of 809 registered voters in New Jersey. 212 of the surveys were carried out via live caller telephone interviews on landlines, 262 on live caller interviews to cell phones, and the remainder (351) were done on a web platform via weblinks sent via SMS to cell phones. Surveys were conducted only in English.

The data were weighted to be representative of the population of New Jersey voters, according to data from Pew Research. The weights used, like all weights, balance the demographic characteristics of the sample to match known population parameters. The weighted results used here are balanced to match parameters for sex, age, education and race/ethnicity.

SPSSINC RAKE, an SPSS extension module that simultaneously balances the distributions of all variables using the GENLOG procedure, was used to produce final weights. Weights were trimmed to prevent individual interviews from having too much influence on the final results. The use of these weights in statistical analysis helps to ensure that the demographic characteristics of the sample approximate the demographic characteristics of the target population. The size of these weights is used to construct the measure of design effects, which indicate the extent to which the reported results are being driven by the weights applied to the data, rather than found in the data itself. Simply put, these design effects tell us how many additional respondents would have been needed to get the weighted number of respondents across weighted categories: larger design effects indicate greater levels of under-representation in the data. In this case, calculated design effects are approximately 1.4.

All surveys are subject to sampling error, which is the expected probable difference between interviewing everyone in a population versus a scientific sampling drawn from that population. Sampling error should be adjusted to recognize the effect of weighting the data to better match the population. In this poll, the simple sampling error for 809 registered New Jersey voters is +/-3.5 percentage points, at a 95 percent confidence interval. Including the design effects, the margin of error would be +/-4.3 percentage points, though the figure not including them is much more commonly reported.

This error calculation does not take into account other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question wording, differences in translated forms, or context effects. While such errors are known to exist, they are often unquantifiable within a particular survey, and all efforts, such as randomization and extensive pre-testing of items, have been used to minimize them.

The FDU Poll is a member of the AAPOR Transparency Initiative and is devoted to ensuring that our results are presented in such a way that anyone can quickly and easily get all of the information that they may need to evaluate the validity of our surveys. We believe that transparency is the key to building trust in the work of high-quality public opinion research, and necessary to push our industry forward.

 

Weighted Telephone Sample Characteristics

809 Registered New Jersey Voters

Figures do not include individuals who declined to answer demographic items.

Man                                   49%                 N = 401

Woman                            50%                 N = 414

Some Other Way             1%                  N = 6

18-30                                    17%                 N = 137

31-44                                    24%                 N = 199

45-64                                    36%                 N = 296

65+                                        23%                 N = 192

White                                                    49%                 N = 257

Black                                                    15%                 N = 86

Hispanic/Latino/a                          21%                 N = 106

Asian                                                    9%                   N = 40

Other/Multi-racial                         3%                   N = 15

No college degree                          61%                 N = 495

College degree or more              39%                 N = 324

Region Classifications

Northwest: Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren Counties
Northeast: Bergen and Passaic Counties
Urban Core: Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, and Union Counties
South: Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties
Coast: Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth, and Ocean Counties

 

Question Wording and Order

First off, we’d like to ask you a few questions about the government here in New Jersey.

NJ1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Phil Murphy is handling his job as governor?

  1. Approve
  2. Disapprove
  3. Not Sure/Don’t Know [Vol]
  4. Refused [Vol]

NJ2. The New Jersey legislature is currently considering a bill that would make it harder for citizens to access to public records, and limit what records they can request. Supporters of the bill say that answering public records requests can be a burden on municipalities. Opponents of the bill say that access to public records helps uncover corruption and illegal behavior. What do you think? Should the state limit access to public records, or keep the system as it is?

  1. Yes, should limit access to public records
  2. No, should keep the system as it is
  3. [Vol] Don’t Know/Refused

NJ3. There is currently no tax mechanism for electric vehicles to contribute to the New Jersey transportation trust fund used to fix roads and bridges. On average, New Jersey drivers of gas-powered vehicles pay around $300 into the transportation trust fund annually. Would you support a direct tax of $300 per year on electric vehicle drivers to help defray the costs of the wear and tear they contribute to our infrastructure?

  1. EVs should have to pay higher registration fees
  2. EVs should not have to pay higher registration fees
  3. [Vol] Don’t Know/Refused

NJ4. Right now, revenues from the gas tax and vehicle registration are used to pay to repair and build roads and bridges, as well as rail improvements for NJ Transit. Both the transportation trust fund, which pays to build and maintain roads and bridges, as well as NJ Transit, are short on money. Do you think that revenues from the gas tax and registration should be used just for roads and bridges, or should be used to subsidize NJ Transit as well?

  1. Gas tax used just for roads and bridges
  2. Gas tax also used to subsidize NJ Transit
  3. [Vol] Don’t Know/Refused

Intervening Questions Held for Future Release

[Shuffle Order of General Election Match-Up Qs]

[In the following four questions, randomly assign the name of the Republican (and code which name respondent gets). Half of the questions should have “Christine Serrano Glassner, the Republican,” and half should have “Curtis Bashaw, the Republican.” Randomization should be on the respondent level, so one respondent will get either Bashaws or Glassner for both E1 and E2]

There will be an election later this year for the US Senate seat currently held by Bob Menendez, but it’s not yet clear who the candidates for the seat will be. I’d like to give you a few potential match-ups, to see who you would vote for in each case.

E1. [Shuffle Order of Candidates] Suppose that November’s election for Senate were between Andy Kim, the Democrat, and Christine Serrano Glassner/ Curtis Bashaw, the Republican. Would you vote for the Democrat, Kim, the Republican, Glassner/Bashaw, or would you not vote?

  1. Democrat Kim
  2. Republican Glassner/Bashaw
  3. Would not vote
  4. Don’t Know/Refused [vol]

E2. [Shuffle Order of first two Candidates, keeping Menendez in third spot] Suppose that November’s election for Senate were between Andy Kim, the Democrat, Christine Serrano Glassner/ Curtis Bashaw, the Republican and Bob Menendez, running as an independent. Would you vote for the Democrat, Kim, the Republican, Glassner/Bashaw, the independent, Menendez, or would you not vote?

  1. Democrat Kim
  2. Republican Glassner/Bashaw
  3. Menendez
  4. Would not vote
  5. Don’t Know/Refused [vol]

Further Questions Held for Future Release

Release Tables

There is currently no tax mechanism for electric vehicles to contribute to the New Jersey transportation trust fund used to fix roads and bridges. On average, New Jersey drivers of gas-powered vehicles pay around $300 into the transportation trust fund annually. Would you support a direct tax of $300 per year on electric vehicle drivers to help defray the costs of the wear and tear they contribute to our infrastructure?
  All Dem Indp Rep
Support Direct Tax on EVs 65% 63% 58% 72%
Oppose Direct Tax on EVs 29% 33% 30% 24%
[Vol] Don’t Know/ Refused 5% 4% 12% 4%

There is currently no tax mechanism for electric vehicles to contribute to the New Jersey transportation trust fund used to fix roads and bridges. On average, New Jersey drivers of gas-powered vehicles pay around $300 into the transportation trust fund annually. Would you support a direct tax of $300 per year on electric vehicle drivers to help defray the costs of the wear and tear they contribute to our infrastructure?
  All Under 30 31-44 45-64 65+
Support Direct Tax on EVs 65% 59% 63% 67% 71%
Oppose Direct Tax on EVs 29% 33% 30% 30% 24%
[Vol] Don’t Know/ Refused 5% 8% 7% 3% 6%

Right now, revenues from the gas tax and vehicle registration are used to pay to repair and build roads and bridges, as well as rail improvements for NJ Transit. Both the transportation trust fund, which pays to build and maintain roads and bridges, as well as NJ Transit, are short on money. Do you think that revenues from the gas tax and registration should be used just for roads and bridges, or should be used to subsidize NJ Transit as well?
  All Dem Indp Rep
Gas tax used just for roads and bridges 59% 43% 60% 78%
Gas tax also used for NJ Transit 35% 51% 36% 16%
[Vol] Don’t Know/ Refused 6% 6% 4% 6%

Right now, revenues from the gas tax and vehicle registration are used to pay to repair and build roads and bridges, as well as rail improvements for NJ Transit. Both the transportation trust fund, which pays to build and maintain roads and bridges, as well as NJ Transit, are short on money. Do you think that revenues from the gas tax and registration should be used just for roads and bridges, or should be used to subsidize NJ Transit as well?
  Northwest Northeast Urban Core South Coast
Gas tax used just for roads and bridges 69% 58% 51% 61% 68%
Gas tax also used for NJ Transit 25% 35% 44% 29% 29%
[Vol] Don’t Know/ Refused 7% 7% 5% 11% 3%

Right now, revenues from the gas tax and vehicle registration are used to pay to repair and build roads and bridges, as well as rail improvements for NJ Transit. Both the transportation trust fund, which pays to build and maintain roads and bridges, as well as NJ Transit, are short on money. Do you think that revenues from the gas tax and registration should be used just for roads and bridges, or should be used to subsidize NJ Transit as well?
  All Under 30 31-44 45-64 65+
Gas tax used just for roads and bridges 59% 42% 61% 69% 55%
Gas tax also used for NJ Transit 35% 53% 36% 25% 35%
[Vol] Don’t Know/ Refused 6% 6% 3% 6% 10%

 

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