Wisconsin Laws and Incentives

Listed below are the summaries of all current Wisconsin 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

Renewable Fuel Producer Excise Tax and Inspection Exemption

The first 1,000 gallons of renewable fuel that an individual produces each year are exempt from the motor vehicle fuel excise tax, the petroleum inspection fee, and any petroleum inspection requirements not required under federal law. These exemptions only apply if the fuel is used in the individual's personal vehicle and is not sold. An individual may also produce renewable fuel for personal use without a business tax registration certificate or a motor vehicle fuel tax license. For more information see the Wisconsin State Energy Office Wisconsin Opportunities website. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 78.01(2n) and 168.05(6))

Vehicle Battery and Engine Research Tax Credits

A corporation involved in qualified research is eligible for a tax credit equal to 10% of the qualified research expenses that the corporation incurs in Wisconsin during the taxable year. Qualified research includes, but is not limited to, automotive batteries for use in fuel cell, hybrid electric, and all-electric vehicles that reduce the demand for electricity or improve the efficiency of its use, and research related to designing internal combustion engines (including substitute products such as fuel cell, electric, and hybrid drives) for vehicles, including expenses related to designing vehicles that are powered by such engines and improving production processes for such engines and vehicles. Corporations may claim an additional tax credit equal to 5% of the amount paid or incurred during the taxable year to construct and equip new facilities or expand existing facilities used in Wisconsin for qualified research. For more information see the Wisconsin State Energy Office Wisconsin Opportunities website. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 71.28(4)(ab 2), 71.28(4)(ad 2 and 3), and 71.28(5)(ad))

Alternative Fuel Tax Refund for Taxis

A person using alternative fuel to operate a taxi used to transport passengers may be reimbursed for the paid amount of the Wisconsin state fuel tax. Refund claims must be filed within one year of the fuel purchase date and must be for a minimum of 100 gallons of alternative fuel. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 78.75(1m)(a)1)

Idle Reduction Grant Program

The Wisconsin Department of Administration provides idle reduction grants to eligible common, contract, and private motor carriers headquartered in Wisconsin that transport freight. Applicants may receive grants of up to 50% of the cost of equipment and installation on heavy-duty truck tractors produced in Model Year 1999 or later. Other conditions may apply. The grant program provides $1 million for each budget cycle. The application for the 2015-2016 funding cycle is no longer available (verified November 2015). Funding for the 2017 and later cycles has been approved by the Wisconsin Legislature and should become available by July 1, 2017. For more information, see the Diesel Truck Idling Reduction Grant Program page. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 16.956)

Point of Contact
Jean Beckwith
Program Manager, Diesel Truck Idling Reduction Program
Wisconsin Department of Administration
Phone: (608) 267-1381
Fax: (608) 264-6151

Alternative Fuel Tax Exemption

No county, city, village, town, or other political subdivision may levy or collect any excise, license, privilege, or occupational tax on motor vehicle fuel or alternative fuels, or on the purchase, sale, handling, or consumption of motor vehicle fuel or alternative fuels. For more information see the Wisconsin State Energy Office Wisconsin Opportunities website. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 78.82)

Idle Reduction Weight Exemption

Any vehicle or combination of vehicles equipped with fully functional idle reduction technology may exceed the state's gross and axle weight limits by up to 400 pounds to compensate for the additional weight of the idle reduction technology. To qualify, the vehicle operator must be able to prove the weight of the idle reduction technology with written certification and demonstrate that the idle reduction technology is fully functional at all times. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 348.15(3)(f))

Biodiesel Fuel Use Incentive

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) may provide financial aid to school districts that use biodiesel fuel to operate school buses to cover the incremental cost of purchasing biodiesel as compared to the cost of petroleum diesel fuel. If in any fiscal year, insufficient funds are available to provide school districts with the full amount of reimbursement for which a school district qualifies, DPI will prorate the available funds among the entitled school districts on a per pupil basis. For more information see the Wisconsin State Energy Office Wisconsin Opportunities website. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 121.575)

Utility/Private Incentives

Residential Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Rebate - Alliant Energy

Alliant Energy offers a $500 rebate to residential customers who purchase and install Level 2 EVSE. The EVSE must be purchased and installed between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2017. For more information, including how to apply, see the Alliant Energy rebates website.

Workplace and Public Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Rebate - Alliant Energy

Alliant Energy offers a rebate to commercial and industrial customers who purchase and install Level 2 EVSE for use by their employees or the public. The rebate is $1,000 for the purchase of a single connector EVSE, and $1,500 for a dual connector EVSE. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, including eligibility requirements and how to apply, see the Alliant Energy rebates website.

Laws and Regulations

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Acquisition and Alternative Fuel Use Requirements

The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) encourages state employees operating state-owned or leased motor vehicles to use hybrid electric vehicles or vehicles that operate on gasohol (a motor fuel containing at least 10% alcohol) or alternative fuels whenever feasible and cost effective. DOA must place a list of gasohol and alternative fueling station locations in each state-owned or state-leased motor vehicle for driver reference. DOA also encourages Wisconsin residents and state employees who use personal motor vehicles on state business to use gasohol and alternative fuels. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 16.045 and Executive Order 141, 2006)

Petroleum Reduction Requirements

The Wisconsin Department of Administration's fleet management policy requires all state agencies to collectively reduce gasoline use in state-owned vehicles by at least 50% by 2015 as compared to the total amount used in 2006. In addition, state agencies must reduce petroleum-based diesel fuel use by 25% by 2015. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 16.045 and Executive Order 141, 2006)

Alternative Fueling Infrastructure Development

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection must pursue the establishment and maintenance of sufficient alternative fueling infrastructure at public retail outlets to meet the public's traveling needs. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 93.07(26))

Alternative Fuels Tax

A state excise tax is imposed on the use of alternative fuels. Alternative fuels include liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or propane), compressed natural gas (CNG), and liquefied natural gas (LNG). The current tax rates are as follows: $0.226 per gallon of propane; $0.247 per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) of CNG; and $0.197 per GGE of LNG. No tax is imposed on alternative fuels used by the U.S. government or its agencies (when presented with a valid exemption certificate) or on vehicles used for urban mass transportation of passengers. For more information, see the Wisconsin Department of Revenue Alternate Fuel Tax website. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 78.40)

Alternative Fuel License

Any person acting as an alternative fuels dealer must hold a valid alternative fuel license and certificate from the Wisconsin Department of Administration. Except for alternative fuels that a dealer delivers into a fuel supply tank of any motor vehicle in the state, no person may use alternative fuels in the state unless the person holds a valid alternative fuel license or an authorized supplier has delivered the alternative fuel. For more information, see the State of Wisconsin License, Permit and Registration Services website. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 78.47)

Renewable Fuel Sales Volume Goals

The Wisconsin Legislature sets goals for minimum annual renewable fuel sales volumes based on annual renewable fuel volumes required under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. On an annual basis, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), in cooperation with the Department of Commerce, the Department of Revenue, and the Energy Office, must determine whether the annual goals for the previous year were met. If the goals were not met, DATCP must issue a report assessing the causes. If DATCP determines that the goals are likely to be met, it must establish requirements that may include: reporting, recordkeeping, or testing requirements; annual requirements for renewable fuel sales; quarterly or monthly requirements for renewable fuel sales if necessary to maintain fuel availability and smooth fluctuation in demand; a system for trading credits; procedures to temporarily suspend a sales requirement; and fees for administration and enforcement. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 100.60)

Sustainable Biofuels Production Practices

The Wisconsin Bioenergy Council (Council) must identify voluntary best management practices for sustainable biomass and biofuels production. The Council must report its findings, at least biennially, to agencies and private parties that assist biofuel feedstocks and biofuels producers. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 93.47)

Biodiesel Definition

Biodiesel is defined as a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, either in pure form or mixed in any combination with petroleum-based diesel fuel. The definition of biodiesel is expanded for purposes of existing provisions that encourage alternative fuels use in state-owned vehicles. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 16.045(1)(c))

Biodiesel Labeling Requirement

Biodiesel fuel retailers may not advertise or offer for sale fuel labeled as pure biodiesel unless the fuel contains no other type of petroleum product, is registered as biodiesel fuel with the federal government, and meets all applicable ASTM specifications. Retailers also may not sell fuel labeled as a biodiesel blend unless the fuel contains at least 2% pure biodiesel fuel, the blend percentage is identified, and the fuel meets all applicable ASTM standards. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 168.14(2), 168.14(2m), and 168.14(3))

Propane Supplier Requirements

A retail supplier may only distribute propane if the supplier holds a license from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. The license must be renewed every two years. In addition, propane retail suppliers must also provide and maintain liability insurance. Penalties for noncompliance may apply. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 101.16)

Low-Speed Vehicle Access to Roadways

A low-speed vehicle is defined as a self-propelled motor vehicle that conforms to the definition and requirements in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards under Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 571.500. A golf cart is not considered a low-speed vehicle. The governing body of any municipality may, by ordinance, allow a low-speed vehicle to operate on any roadway within the municipality that has a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, regardless of whether the municipality has jurisdiction over the roadway. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 349.26 and 340.01(27h))