Pennsylvania Laws and Incentives

Listed below are the summaries of all current Pennsylvania 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

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) Funding

The Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) Program provides financial assistance for qualified projects; information on alternative fuels, AFVs, HEVs, plug-in electric vehicles; and advanced vehicle technology research, development, and demonstration. Projects that result in product commercialization and the expansion of Pennsylvania companies are favored in the selection process.

The AFIG Program also offers rebates to assist eligible residents with the incremental cost of the purchase of new AFVs, including electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), natural gas vehicles, propane vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Rebates of $2,000 are available for qualified EVs and PHEVs, rebates of $1,000 are available for natural gas, propane, and hydrogen vehicles, and rebates of $500 are available for electric motorcycles and scooters.

Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, including forms and detailed requirements, see the AFIG Program and Alternative Fuel Vehicle Rebates websites. (Reference Title 73 Pennsylvania Statutes, Chapter 18E, Section 1647.3)

Point of Contact
David Althoff, Jr.
Program Manager
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pollution Prevention & Energy Assistance Office
Phone: (717) 783-0542

Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Grants

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection administers the Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program, which provides funding to eligible municipal and commercial fleets for the purchase or conversion of dedicated or bi-fuel NGVs. Eligible vehicles must have gross vehicle weight ratings of at least 14,000 pounds. Competitive grants are capped at 50% of the incremental or conversion cost, up to $25,000 per vehicle. Grants may not be used for project development, fueling stations, or other fueling infrastructure. Eligible applicants include Commonwealth or municipal authorities, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, non-profit entities, for-profit companies, local transportation organizations, and state-owned or state-related universities. Funding for grants has been allocated to the through fiscal year 2015 with portions set aside specifically for local transportation agencies through 2014 (verified October 2014). For more information, refer to the Natural Gas Vehicle Program website. (Reference Title 58 Pennsylvania Statutes, Chapter 27, Sections 2701-2704)

Alternative Fuel and Idle Reduction Grants

The Small Business Advantage Grant Program provides matching grants of 50%, up to $9,500, to enable a Pennsylvania small business to adopt or acquire energy-efficient or pollution prevention equipment or processes. Pennsylvania trucking companies and independent truckers may use the funding to purchase auxiliary power units. Projects may not begin until after applications are approved. Funding is contingent upon annual legislative appropriations. The Fiscal Year 2014 application period is open until April15, 2015, or until funds have been fully committed (verified October 2014). For more information, refer to the Small Business Advantage Grant Program website.

Idle Reduction Loans

The Small Business Pollution Prevention Assistance Account Loan Program provides low interest rate loans to small businesses undertaking projects in Pennsylvania that reduce waste, pollution, or energy use, including the purchase of truck auxiliary power units. Loans are available for 75% of the total eligible project costs. The maximum loan amount is $100,000 within any 12-month period. The loan has a 2% fixed rate and a maximum term of 10 years. For more information, refer to the Small Business Pollution Prevention Assistance Account Loan Program website.

Alternative Fuel Development and Deployment Grants

The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) provides grants of up to $1,000,000 for alternative energy projects and research related to deployment projects or manufacturing. PEDA funding is available for projects involving biomass, fuel cells, and clean and alternative fuels for transportation, and may be used for equipment purchases, construction, contractor expenses, and engineering design necessary for construction or installation. Pure research is not eligible for funding. The PEDA grant program is currently closed and no longer accepting applications, but interested applicants may sign up for notifications about the program status via the PEDA website (verified October 2014). For more information, refer to the PEDA website.

Idle Reduction Weight Exemption

A vehicle equipped with qualified idle reduction technology may exceed the state's gross weight and axle weight limits by up to 400 pounds to compensate for the additional weight of the idle reduction technology. (Reference Title 35 Pennsylvania Statutes, Chapter 23B, Section 4604)

Utility/Private Incentives

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Rebate - PECO

PECO provides rebates of $50 to residential customers who purchase a new, qualified PEV. For more information, see the PECO Smart Driver Rebate website.

Laws and Regulations

Renewable Fuels Mandate

One year after in-state production has reached 350 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol and sustained this volume for three months, all gasoline sold in Pennsylvania must contain at least 10% cellulosic ethanol. All diesel fuel sold in Pennsylvania must contain at least 2% biodiesel (B2) one year after in-state production of biodiesel reaches 40 million gallons. The mandated biodiesel blend level will continue to increase according to the following schedule:

  • 5% biodiesel (B5) one year after in-state production of biodiesel reaches 100 million gallons;
  • 10% biodiesel (B10) one year after in-state production of biodiesel reaches 200 million gallons; and
  • 20% biodiesel (B20) one year after in-state production of biodiesel reaches 400 million gallons.
All biodiesel retailers in Pennsylvania must register with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture each year. Additional compliance and blending standards, in-state registration requirements, and certification and enforcement guidelines apply.

(Reference Title 73 Pennsylvania Statutes, Chapter 18H, Sections 1650.3 and 1650.4)

Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Standards

The Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program requires that all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold, leased, titled, or registered in the Commonwealth must meet California vehicle emissions and compliance requirements, as set forth in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations, with the exception of the Zero Emission Vehicle sales requirements and the emissions control system warranty statement. For more information, refer to the Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program website. (Reference Title 25 Pennsylvania Code 126.401-126.451)

Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Production Support and Procurement

In 2011, Pennsylvania joined Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to stimulate the production and demand for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) NGVs. The MOU aims to encourage OEMs to offer functional and affordable light- and medium-duty NGVs, aggregate state vehicle procurement through a joint request for proposals (RFP), boost private investment in natural gas fueling infrastructure, and encourage greater coordination between state and local agencies. In 2012, the National Association of State Procurement Officials coordinated the solicitation of a joint RFP, which the Oklahoma Department of Central Services (DCS) issued on behalf of the MOU signatories and additional states. As a result, state fleets have access to more affordable NGVs through dealerships now included in state vehicle purchasing bids. For more information, including awarded vehicles by state and vehicle purchase information for state fleets, see the DCS Statewide Contract for NGVs solicitation page.

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 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or California Air Resources Board standards for aftermarket conversions. (Reference Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Policy on Clean Alternative Fuel Conversion Systems)

Idle Reduction Requirement

Diesel vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 pounds may not idle for more than five minutes in any continuous 60 minute period. Exemptions include: uncontrollable traffic conditions; prevention of safety or health emergencies; emergency or law enforcement purposes; verification that a vehicle is safe to operate; vehicle maintenance; power work-related operations; sampling, weighing, or loading; bus passenger comfort; vehicles actively engaged in solid waste or recyclable material collection; vehicles complying with manufacturer specifications; and vehicles meeting California Air Resources Board nitrogen oxide idling emission standards. (Reference Title 35 Pennsylvania Statutes, Chapter 23B, Section 4603)

Alternative Fuels Tax

Alternative fuels used to propel vehicles of any kind on public highways are taxed at a rate determined on a gasoline gallon equivalent basis. For more information, including applicable tax rates, see the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue website. Certain exemptions apply. (Reference Title 75 Pennsylvania Statutes, Chapter 90, Section 9004)

Low-Speed Vehicle Definition

A low-speed vehicle is defined as a four-wheel electric vehicle that has a maximum speed greater than 20 miles per hour (mph) but not more than 25 mph. All vehicles must comply with the safety standards established in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 571.500. Drivers must maintain a defined level of insurance coverage for all registered vehicles. (Reference House Bill 573, 2014, and Title 75 Pennsylvania Statutes, Chapter 1, Section 102 and Chapter 17, Section 1788)