New York Laws and Incentives

Listed below are the summaries of all current New York laws, incentives, regulations, funding opportunities, and other initiatives related to alternative fuels and vehicles, advanced technologies, or air quality. You can go directly to summaries of:

State Incentives

Heavy-Duty Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Purchase Vouchers

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is providing incentives for alternative fuel trucks and buses and diesel emission controls. Incentives are released on a staggered schedule and include:

  • Vouchers for public, private, and non-profit fleets for 80% of the incremental cost, up to $60,000, for the purchase or lease of all-electric Class 3 through 8 trucks operating 70% of the time and garaged in any non-attainment or maintenance area of New York State;
  • Vouchers for private and non-profit fleets for 80% of the incremental cost, up to $40,000 for the purchase of compressed natural gas, hybrid electric and all-electric Class 3 through 8 trucks operating 70% of the time and garaged in New York City; and
  • Vouchers for private and non-profit fleets that cover up to 80% of the cost of purchasing and installing emission reduction equipment for Class 3 through 8 diesel vehicles that are operated 70% of the time and garaged in New York City.
Funding is currently available for all-electric truck vouchers, but is not yet available for the New York City-specific incentives (verified November 2013). Nonethless, commercial vehicle dealers may submit requests to be pre-qualified and participate in the program. For information about voucher availability and vehicle eligibility, see the NYSERDA New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program website.

Alternative Fueling Infrastructure Tax Credit

An income tax credit is available for 50% of the cost alternative fueling infrastructure, up to $5,000. Qualifying infrastructure includes electric vehicle supply equipment and equipment to dispense fuel that is 85% or more natural gas, propane, or hydrogen. Unused credits may be carried over into future tax years. The credit expires December 31, 2017. For additional information, including information on how to claim the credit, please see the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance page. (Reference Assembly Bill 03009, 2013; Senate Bill 02609, 2013; and New York Tax Law 187-b)

Biofuel Production Tax Credit

Biofuel producers in New York State may qualify for a state tax credit of $0.15 per gallon of biodiesel (B100) or denatured ethanol produced after the production facility has produced, and made available for sale, 40,000 gallons of biofuel per year. The maximum annual credit available is $2.5 million per taxpayer for no more than four consecutive taxable years per production facility. If the taxpayer is in a partnership or is a shareholder of a New York S corporation, the maximum credit amount is applied at the entity level, so the aggregate credit allowed to all partners or shareholders may not exceed $2.5 million. Additional requirements may apply. This credit expires December 31, 2019. (Reference New York Tax Law 28*2 and 187-c)

Idle Reduction Weight Exemption

Any motor vehicle equipped with qualified idle reduction technology may exceed the state's vehicle weight limits by up to 400 pounds to compensate for the additional weight of the idle reduction technology. The vehicle's operator must maintain written certification of the device's weight and proof that it is fully functional and must provide this proof to a law enforcement officer upon request. (Reference New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 385)

E85 Fueling Infrastructure Funding

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) administers the Biofuel Station Initiative Program, which provides funding to retail fueling stations offering E85 in the state. NYSERDA provides a reimbursement of $35,000 to cover new biofuel dispensing installation costs, including equipment, storage tanks, and associated piping equipment. NYSERDA accepts applications from public access retail fueling station owners and operators in the state. Funding is limited, does not cover facility permitting or engineering costs, and expires on July 5, 2015. For more information, see the NYSERDA Biofuel Station Initiative Program Opportunity Notice.

School Bus Emissions Reduction Funding

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) administers the Clean Air School Bus Program, which provides funds to municipalities, departments, public authorities, and school districts to cover the cost of purchasing alternative fuel school buses or installing emissions control retrofit devices on school buses. Eligible devices include U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-verified diesel particulate filters, diesel oxidation catalysts, and closed crankcase filter systems. Idle reduction technology, such as diesel fuel-fired coolant heaters, is also eligible. The current round of funding expires on December 30, 2013, or when all funds are exhausted (verified November 2013). For more information, see the NYSERDA Clean Air School Bus Program website.

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Fueling Infrastructure Funding and Technical Assistance

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provides financial and technical assistance to public, private, and not-for-profit organization fleet managers who want to evaluate the feasibility and cost of adding AFVs and fueling facilities to their operations. NYSERDA also provides support to encourage the use of emission reduction and anti-idling technologies for diesel vehicles. Low-cost training for vehicle mechanics is also available through certified institutions. For more information and specific opportunities, see the NYSERDA Funding Opportunities websites.

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Research and Development Funding

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provides funding for projects that enhance mobility, improve efficiency, reduce congestion, and diversity transportation methods and fuels through research and development of advanced technologies. NYSERDA offers annual solicitations that support new product development and demonstration as well as research on new transportation policies and strategies. NYSERDA also supports projects that demonstrate the benefits of commercially available products that are underutilized in New York State. Once developed, NYSERDA provides incentives to accelerate the market introduction of emerging technologies through its Alternative Fuel Vehicle Program. For more information and funding opportunities, see the NYSERDA Transportation Research and Development website.

High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane Exemption and Discount

Through the Clean Pass Program, eligible plug-in electric and hybrid electric vehicles may use the Long Island Expressway HOV lanes, regardless of the number of occupants in the vehicle. Vehicles must display the Clean Pass vehicle sticker, which is available from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Drivers of qualified vehicles may also receive a 10% discount on established E-ZPass accounts with proof of registration. For a list of eligible vehicles and Clean Pass sticker application instructions, see the Clean Pass Program website. For information about the E-ZPass discount, see the Green Pass Discount Plan website.

Alternative Fuel Tax Exemption and Rate Reduction

E85, compressed natural gas, and hydrogen fuel that is used exclusively to operate a motor vehicle engine is exempt from state sales and use taxes. Additionally, cities and counties may reduce the sales and use tax imposed on 20% biodiesel blends (B20) to 80% of the diesel fuel tax rate. The exemption and rate reduction are in effect until September 1, 2014. (Reference New York Tax Law 1101, 1102, 1111, and 1115)

Laws and Regulations

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support

New York joined California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the deployment of ZEVs through involvement in a ZEV Program Implementation Task Force (Task Force). In May 2014, the Task Force published a ZEV Action Plan (Plan) identifying 11 priority actions to accomplish the goals of the MOU, including deploying at least 3.3 million ZEVs and adequate fueling infrastructure within the signatory states by 2025. The Plan also includes a research agenda to inform future actions. On an annual basis, each state must report on the number of registered ZEVs, the number of public electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and hydrogen fueling stations, and available information regarding workplace fueling for ZEVs. Each state also committed to:

  • Support ZEV commercialization through consistent statewide building codes and standards for installing EVSE, streamlined metering options for homes equipped with EVSE, opportunities to reduce vehicle operating costs, increased electric system efficiency through time-of-use electricity rates and net metering for electric vehicles, and integrating ZEVs with renewable energy initiatives;
  • Establish ZEV purchase targets for governmental agency fleets, explore opportunities for coordinated vehicle and fueling station equipment procurement, work to provide public access to government fleet fueling stations, and include commitments to use ZEVs in state contracts with auto dealers and car rental companies where appropriate;
  • Evaluate the need for, and effectiveness of, monetary incentives to reduce the upfront purchase price of ZEVs as well as non-monetary incentives, such as high occupancy vehicle lane access, reduced tolls, and preferential parking, and pursue these incentives as appropriate;
  • Work to develop uniform standards to promote ZEV consumer acceptance and awareness, industry compliance, and economies of scale, including adopting universal signage, common methods of payment and interoperability of EVSE networks, and reciprocity among states for non-monetary ZEV incentives;
  • Cooperate with vehicle manufacturers, electricity and hydrogen providers, the fueling infrastructure industry, corporate fleet owners, financial institutions, and others to encourage ZEV market growth;
  • Share research and develop a coordinated education and outreach campaign to highlight the benefits of ZEVs, including collaboration with related national and regional initiatives; and
  • Assess and develop potential deployment strategies and infrastructure requirements for the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

School Bus Idle Reduction Policy

School bus drivers or drivers of other vehicles that the school district owns, leases, or contracts must turn off the vehicle engine while loading or unloading passengers on school grounds or near a school. Exceptions include idling for mechanical work, to maintain a comfortable temperature in the vehicle, or in emergency evacuations where it is necessary to operate wheelchair lifts. Drivers should also instruct pupils on the necessity to load and unload promptly, park their vehicles diagonally to minimize exhaust from entering another bus or the school, and turn off their vehicle during sporting or other events. School districts must provide personnel with a notice outlining these provisions no later than five days after the start of the school year. These regulations remain effective until June 30, 2019. (Reference Assembly Bill 06917, 2013; Senate Bill 04868, 2013; New York Education Law 3637; and New York State Education Department Commissioner's Regulations 156.3(h))

Fuel Exclusivity Contract Regulation

Motor fuel franchise dealers may obtain alternative fuels from a supplier other than a franchise distributor. Any franchise provision that prohibits or discourages a dealer from purchasing or selling E85, biodiesel blends of at least 2% (B2), hydrogen, or compressed natural gas from a firm or individual other than the distributor is null and void as it pertains to that particular alternative fuel if the distributor does not supply or offer to supply the dealer with the alternative fuel. Distributors who violate the law by entering into exclusivity contracts will be subject to a $1,000 fine. If the distributor does offer alternative fuels, they may require the station to use their brands. (Reference New York General Business Law 199-j)

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Acquisition Requirements

All new light-duty vehicles that state agencies and other affected entities procure must be AFVs, with the exception of designated specialty, police, or emergency vehicles. Hybrid electric vehicles qualify under these requirements. State agencies and other affected entities that operate medium- and heavy-duty vehicles must implement strategies to reduce petroleum consumption and emissions by using alternative fuels and improving vehicle fleet fuel efficiency. State agencies and other affected entities may substitute the use of 450 gallons of 100% biodiesel (B100) for the acquisition of one AFV. Alternatively, using 2,250 gallons of biodiesel blends of 20% (B20) or 9,000 gallons of biodiesel blends of 5% (B5) may also be substituted in place of purchasing one AFV. No more than 50% of a given state agency fleet's AFV purchase requirement may be met by substituting B100, B20, or B5. For more information, see the New York State Alternative Fueled Vehicles Program website. (Reference Executive Order 111, 2001; Executive Order 142, 2005; and Executive Order 4, 2008)

Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Standards

Any new light-duty passenger car, light-duty truck, or medium-duty passenger vehicle sold, leased, imported, delivered, purchased, or acquired in New York State must be certified to the California emissions standards set forth in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) must meet a fleet average greenhouse gas emissions standard, as defined in the California Code of Regulations, which will become more stringent for each model year through 2016. In addition, each OEM's fleet of passenger cars and light-duty trucks produced and delivered for sale in the state must meet at least the same percentage requirements for Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) set forth in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations, Section 1962. (Reference New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Regulations Chapter III, Part 218)

Aftermarket Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Conversion Requirements

Conventional original equipment manufacturer vehicles altered to operate on propane, natural gas, methane, ethanol, or electricity are classified as aftermarket AFV conversions. All vehicle conversions must meet current applicable California Air Resources Board standards for aftermarket conversions. (Reference New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Regulations Chapter III, Subpart 218)

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Access to Tunnels

An AFV powered by propane or natural gas may only use Port Authority of New York and New Jersey tunnels and the lower level of the George Washington Bridge if the vehicle conforms to applicable federal regulations and industry standards, displays required markings to identify its alternative fuel system, and has a fuel capacity that does not exceed 150 pounds. For more information, see the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Trucker's Resources website.

Low-Speed Vehicle Definition

A low-speed vehicle is defined as a limited use automobile or truck that has a maximum speed greater than 20 miles per hour (mph) but not more than 25 mph and has a gross vehicle weight rating less than 3,000 pounds. All low-speed vehicles must comply with the safety standards established in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 571.500. (Reference New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 121-f)

Heavy-Duty Idle Reduction Requirement

Heavy-duty vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 8,500 pounds may not idle for more than five consecutive minutes when the vehicle is not in motion. Exceptions apply, including when idling is necessary due to traffic conditions; to maintain temperatures (under regulation) for passenger comfort; to provide auxiliary power or for maintenance purposes; to recharge batteries in hybrid electric vehicles; and for emergency service vehicles. (Reference New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Regulations Chapter III, Subpart 217-3)