WESTFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A bill making its way to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk aims to make electric cars more accessible and appealing to residents.

As CBSN New York’s Meg Baker reported Tuesday, the idea would be to offer incentives to residents to go green by making a purchase.

“Right now, 45-50% of all the carbon dioxide in our air comes from transportation. So it’s really, really important to get us off fossil fuels,” Sen. Bob Smith said.

Electric vehicles can cost significantly more than traditional cars powered by gasoline, so a bill sponsored by Smith would help make battery-operated cars more affordable, offering to rebate $5,000 per vehicle.

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Jim Appleton, president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, said it’s about time. The Garden State is trailing behind other states when it comes to electric vehicles sales.

New Jersey is considering offering residents financial incentives to purchase an electric vehicle. (Photo: CBSN New York)

“The most serious obstacles for electric vehicle adoption, which are price and range anxiety. The typical electric vehicle today costs anywhere from $12,000 to $15,000 more than a comparably equipped internal combustion engine vehicle. That’s the bad news. The good news is in New Jersey, at least, electric vehicles are exempt from sales tax and that helps bring down the transaction price,” Appleton said.

People can also receive federal tax credits of up to $7,500 for most electric cars, excluding Tesla and Chevy. They were early adopters and credits to introduce consumers to their brands have already been used up.

But if more people go green, the state will need more charging stations. Legislators removed a controversial part of the original bill that would have required private utilities build charging station infrastructure that could have been paid through electric rate increases.

However, rates could still go up to help pay for charging equipment in people’s private garages. Not everyone is on board with that, while Appleton said, “The benefits to the grid and the benefits to the environment far out way any incremental cost that might be shifted to the rate payers.”

Smith says there’s a chance utility bill rates could go up, but he says the Board of Public Utilities is trying to find the right balance between the private sector and utilities.

The governor is on board with the electric vehicle plan. The state would commit at least $300 million over 10 years to help subsidize more than 60,000 green cars.

With fewer people buying gas in the future, legislators will have to find an alternative to the gas tax to repair the roads. One idea floating around is to raise your vehicle registration fee.

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