Local Laws and Incentives

There are a variety of local laws and incentives that support reducing U.S. petroleum consumption by encouraging or requiring individuals and/or public and private organizations to use alternative fuels, advanced vehicles, and strategies to decrease fuel use or increase fuel economy. Local city and county governments create such laws and incentives to ensure people use vehicles and transportation fuels safely and efficiently.

The featured laws and incentives below are a small sampling of existing laws and incentives that local governments have created. For specific laws and incentives in your area, contact your local government.

Vehicle Purchase and Infrastructure Development Incentives

Heavy-Duty Truck, Taxi, and Alternative Fueling Station Incentives - Chicago, IL

The Chicago Department of Transportation's (CDOT) Drive Clean Chicago program provides vouchers and grants to fund the purchase and conversion of qualified fleet vehicles and fueling infrastructure. Vehicles must operate in the Chicago six-county area at least 75% of the time and fueling stations must be proposed in the six-county area. Vouchers of up to 80%, up to $30,000, of the incremental or conversion costs are available for qualified all-electric and hybrid Class 2 to Class 8 vehicle purchases. Taxi and other public passenger vehicle operators may apply for a voucher of up to 80% of the cost, up to $10,000, towards the purchase or conversion of light-duty vehicles to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or electricity. Vouchers are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Rebates are also available for up to 30% of the capital cost to develop CNG fueling stations and DC fast charge electric vehicle supply equipment. Terms and conditions apply. For more information see the Drive Clean Chicago website.

Parking Incentives

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) Parking - New Haven, CT

The City of New Haven provides free parking on all city streets for HEVs and AFVs registered in New Haven that have a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency city or highway fuel economy rating of at least 35 miles per gallon. HEV and AFV vehicle owners must obtain a non-transferable pass from the Department of Traffic and Parking to place on the vehicle's dashboard or hang from the rearview mirror. AFVs and HEVs are otherwise subject to all time and other posted parking restrictions. For more information, see the City of New Haven Transportation, Traffic & Parking website.

Technical Assistance

Clean School Bus Program - North Central TX

The North Central Texas Council of Governments administers the North Central Texas Clean School Bus Program, which is a fuel- and technology-neutral program. The Clean School Bus Program serves as a clearinghouse for information on technology, legislation, best practices for school bus operators, and clean school bus funding opportunities. The Clean School Bus Program aims to reduce emissions from school bus fleets by encouraging and assisting in the expedited purchase of clean school buses as well as the adoption and enforcement of idle reduction policies. In addition, the Clean School Bus Program seeks to gather community resources to assist schools, school districts, and school bus operators in improving air quality and protecting the health of school-aged children. For more information, see the North Central Texas Clean School Bus Program website or contact Lori Clark (817-695-9232) at North Central Texas Council of Governments.

Vehicle Acquisition Requirements

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Acquisition Requirements - Albuquerque, NM

All motor vehicles purchased by the City of Albuquerque must be dedicated, flexible fuel, or dual-fuel AFVs. Alternative fuels are defined as fuels other than conventional gasoline and diesel and may include ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas, electricity, propane, or other alternative fuels approved by the city's Chief Administrative Officer. For more information, see the City of Albuquerque Executive Instruction No. 26.

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Use Requirement - Smithtown, NY

The town of Smithtown requires all contracted residential refuse collection operators to switch from diesel vehicles to dedicated CNG vehicles. For more information, see the Smithtown Case Study.

Fleet Clean Vehicle Programs and Requirements - San Francisco, CA

The City of San Francisco (City) enforces several provisions and programs to reduce petroleum consumption and transportation emissions. Through July 1, 2015, each city official with jurisdiction over passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks must remove at least 5% of vehicles from their fleet annually. Beginning on July 1, 2015, city officials must remove all vehicles aged 12 years and older from the fleet. In addition, all city fleet vehicle purchases must comply with the San Francisco Transit-First Policy and be an approved vehicle under the San Francisco Green Vehicle Purchase Criteria. Exceptions apply.

In addition, the San Francisco Department of the Environment, in consultation with other departments, must:

  • Facilitate and seek funds for the development of alternative fueling facilities, including electric vehicle supply equipment;
  • Participate in pilot and demonstration projects for clean vehicles and related technologies;
  • Coordinate grant applications to support clean vehicle and alternative fuel programs;
  • Implement programs to encourage residents and private fleet operators to purchase and operate clean vehicles and use alternative fuels; and
  • Assist the San Francisco Unified School District with developing bid specifications and identifying grants for energy efficient, alternative fuel, or best emissions control technology school buses.

For more information, see the City and County of San Francisco Environmental Code (Sections 400-410).

Green Fleet Policy - Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis is implementing a Green Fleet Policy to minimize the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and economic costs associated with current and future fleet vehicles. The overall objectives of the policy include:

  • Inventory and report fleet-wide GHG emissions;
  • Optimize fleet size through the elimination or reassignment of under-used vehicles;
  • Reduce tailpipe emissions through advanced emissions controls;
  • Purchase, when necessary, new vehicles that provide the best available net reduction in vehicle fleet emissions, taking life-cycle economic and environmental impacts into consideration; and
  • Encourage and educate city staff on eco-driving best practices and promote carpooling across departments.

A Green Fleet Team will oversee the implementation of the Green Fleet Policy and will include representatives from the Fleet Services Division, Environmental Services, Sustainability Initiative, and a selected rotation of departments. The Green Fleet Team will present annual reports of findings and progress to the City of Minneapolis Environmental Coordinating Team and to Results Minneapolis.

Promotion Initiatives

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Infrastructure Promotion - Bay Area, CA

Mayors of San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland are following a policy plan to develop and expand the infrastructure needed to promote the use of PEVs. Policy steps include: expediting the permit and installation processes for charging outlets; providing incentives for employers and other organizations who install charging infrastructure at the workplace and other parking facilities; developing standard regulations governing PEV infrastructure across the region; and establishing programs to purchase PEVs for use by city and state employees. The mayors are working with other cities in the Bay Area as well as regional government organizations and private sector partners through the Bay Area EV Corridor Project and the Association of Bay Area Governments.

Idle Reduction Requirements

Idle Reduction Requirement - Atlanta, GA

The City of Atlanta prohibits the idling of a truck or bus for more than 15 minutes on any street or public place. Exceptions include emergency vehicles, utility company, construction, maintenance vehicles that require the engines to run to perform needed work, or vehicles that are forced to remain motionless because of traffic conditions. If the ambient temperature is less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, idling is limited to a maximum of 25 minutes. Any vehicle that uses electricity or compressed natural gas as its primary fuel source is exempt from idling limitations. For more information, see the Atlanta Code of Ordinances (Section 150-97(c)).

Idle Reduction Requirement - Denver, CO

Idling of any vehicle for more than five minutes in any one-hour period is prohibited within the city and county of Denver. This prohibition does not apply when ambient outside air temperatures have been less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit for the previous 24 hours or when the current ambient outside air temperature is less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Emergency vehicles, vehicles engaged in traffic operations, vehicles being serviced, vehicles that must idle to operate auxiliary equipment, and vehicles that are idling due to traffic congestion are also exempt. For more information, see the Denver Revised Municipal Code (Title II, Section 4-43).

Idle Reduction Requirement - Philadelphia, PA

Idling of any heavy-duty diesel motor vehicle for more than two minutes is prohibited in the City of Philadelphia. Exceptions apply when the ambient temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below or when the ambient temperature is equal to or greater than 75 degrees Fahrenheit and the heavy-duty vehicle is a bus equipped with air conditioning and non-operable windows. For more information, see the City of Philadelphia Air Management Regulation IX.

Renewable Fuels Mandates and Standards

Renewable Fuels Mandate - Portland, OR

All gasoline sold within the Portland city limits must contain a minimum of 10% ethanol (E10). Exemptions apply to fuel vendors that sell premium gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher with no ethanol additive. All diesel fuel sold must contain a minimum of 5% biodiesel (B5) and meet ASTM D6751 standards. Fuel vendors must place signage on each pump denoting the percentage of biofuel in each fuel available for sale. A retailer who offers a biodiesel blend of 20% (B20) or greater is exempt from the B5 requirement and is allowed to provide for sale, on the same site or a contiguous site, diesel fuel that does not contain biodiesel. For more information, see the City of Portland Development Services Biofuels Portland website.

Infrastructure Requirements

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Parking Space Requirements - Kansas City, MO

The City of Kansas City requires that PEV parking spaces be reserved for parking and charging PEVs only. PEV parking spaces may not impede pedestrian, bicycle, or wheelchair movement or create safety hazards, and must have signage identifying any applicable use, fee, or safety information and indicating that the space is reserved for charging purposes only. PEV parking spaces in off-street parking facilities may be counted toward the off-street parking space requirements outlined in City of Kansas City Zoning & Development Code, Section 88-420-04. For more information, see the Zoning & Development Code, Section 88-305-10 or contact the Kansas City Planning & Development Department (816-513-1468).

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Ready Building Requirements - Los Angeles, CA

Newly constructed buildings in Los Angeles must provide the necessary hardware for plug-in electric vehicle charging. One- and two-family dwellings and townhouses must be equipped with at least one PEV charging outlet, which is a 208/240 volt, 40 ampere, grounded alternating current outlet, or panel capacity and conduit for such outlet installation for each dwelling unit. Other residential buildings that have a common parking area must be equipped with PEV charging outlets in at least 5% of the total parking spaces or panel capacity and conduit for these upgrades in the future. The parking area of new high-rise residential and non-residential buildings must include PEV charging outlets in at least 5% of the total parking spaces. For more information, see the 2011 Los Angeles Amendment Green Building Code.