Electric car advocates are calling for New Jersey's support in helping to develop and expand the fledgling industry.

Electric car charging the battery
Cristina Arias, Getty Images

On the heels of the state Assembly passing a bill that would allow Tesla Motors to sell its electric cars directly to consumers in New Jersey, a report published by Environment New Jersey extolled the environmental benefits switching to electric would have.

"Some of the largest findings (are) that we will save 55 million gallons of gas in New Jersey by going electric," said Doug O'Malley, executive director of Environment New Jersey. "That being said, we can do a lot more, from allowing direct sales of Tesla to having Gov. Christie promote electric vehicles here in New Jersey."

Speaking next to a charging station at Bergen County Community College on Tuesday, O'Malley emphasized the need for promoting a charging station infrastructure in New Jersey. He said the state is far behind the country in adopting electric cars, housing only 120 electric vehicle charging stations.

"Los Angeles alone has as many electric vehicles as New Jersey has in a whole state," O'Malley said. "For the most densely populated state in America, it's a lot harder to charge your car than it should be."

Many electric cars average a little over 100 miles before needing to be charged. Even Tesla's luxury model S can only go roughly 250 miles before needing to be plugged in, so the need for a better network of charging stations is paramount.

A bill in the state Senate would require charging stations in at least 5 percent of parking spots at all rest stops on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.

Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Maywood), a Nissan Leaf owner, wholly supports the expansion of electric cars in New Jersey. However, he doesn't see too much financial support coming from the legislature.

"Because the state budget is in such terrible disarray, incentives and tax breaks aren't really an option," Eustace said. "I think the market is going to have to decide if it's going to have to work."

Like gas stations, which received backing from states nearly a century ago, Eustace does believe New Jersey can lend some support for these stations soon.

"The state can help by the same way they allow gas stations on the Turnpike and Parkway, where they lease the land to the company and the company can make a profit," he said.

Eustace was also in favor of expanding the Green E-ZPass program to New Jersey, which gives a 10 percent discount to drivers with fuel-efficient vehicles.