Oregon Laws and Incentives

Listed below are the summaries of all current Oregon 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 Loans

The Oregon Department of Energy administers the State Energy Loan Program (SELP) which offers low-interest loans for qualified projects. Eligible alternative fuel projects include fuel production facilities, dedicated feedstock production, fueling infrastructure, and fleet vehicles. Loan recipients must complete a loan application and pay a loan application fee. SELP is not currently accepting new loan applications (confirmed April 2018). For more information, including application forms and interest rate and fee information, see the SELP website. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 470)

Clean School Bus Grants

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality must use funds awarded to Oregon through the Volkswagen Clean Air Act Civil Settlement and deposited in the Clean Diesel Engine Fund, to award grants to owners and operators of at least 450 school buses powered by diesel engines. Eligible vehicles include buses that have at least three years of remaining useful life. Grants will be available for 30%, up to $50,000, for the purchase of a new bus or up to 100% of the cost to retrofit a school bus with emissions-reducing parts or technology that reduce diesel particulate matter emissions by at least 85%. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 468A.795-468A.803)

Biodiesel Tax Exemption

Biodiesel blends containing at least 20% biodiesel derived from used cooking oil are exempt from the $0.34 per gallon state fuel excise tax. The exemption does not apply to fuel used in vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, fuel not sold in retail operations, or fuel sold in operations involving fleet fueling or bulk sales. The exemption expires after December 31, 2019. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 319.530)

Biofuels Production Property Tax Exemption

Property used to produce biofuels, including ethanol and biodiesel, may be eligible for a property tax exemption if it is located in a designated Rural Renewable Energy Development Zone. The Oregon Business Development Department must receive and approve an application from a qualified rural area to designate the area as a Rural Renewable Energy Development Zone. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 285C.350 through 285C.370)

Idle Reduction and Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Weight Exemption

A vehicle equipped with a fully functional idle reduction system designed to reduce fuel use and emissions from engine idling may exceed the maximum weight limitations by up to 550 pounds (lbs.) to accommodate the added weight of the idle reduction technology. Any NGV may exceed the limits by up to 2,000 lbs. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 818.030)

Pollution Control Equipment Exemption

Dedicated original equipment manufacturer natural gas vehicles and all-electric vehicles are not required to be equipped with a certified pollution control system. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 815.300)

Laws and Regulations

Support for Autonomous Vehicles

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is the lead agency responsible for coordination of autonomous vehicle (AV) program and policies. ODOT will establish a Task Force on AVs (Task Force) to develop recommendations for AV legislation to address licensing and registration, law enforcement and accident reporting, cybersecurity, and insurance and liability. The Task Force must submit a report to the Legislative Assembly on proposed recommendations by September 15, 2018. The Task Force will also submit a report on the potential long-term effect of AVs to the Legislative Assembly by September 15, 2019. (Reference House Bill 4063, 2018)

Support for Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Adoption

In order to support the state goal of at least 50,000 PEVs registered and operating in Oregon by 2020, the Zero-Emission Vehicle Working Group (Working Group) will develop goals and progress metrics for PEV adoption. The Working Group will include representatives from the Departments of Administrative Services, Energy, Transportation, and Environmental Quality, and the Oregon Public Utility Commission. The Working Group will aim to remove barriers to PEVs and PEV charging stations, and establish a website to share information about their efforts with the public. (Reference Executive Order 17-21, 2017)

Volkswagen Settlement Allocation

The Department Environmental Quality (DEQ), with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE), and Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division, must engage stakeholders and receive public comments to inform the development of a plan to leverage up to 15% of the Volkswagen Mitigation Fund to support vehicle electrification. The plan should include the development and maintenance of plug-in electric vehicle charging stations, with a focus on rural and low-income communities.

ODOT, with ODOE, DEQ, the Public Utility Commission, and local governments, must develop proposals for future 30-month investment periods of Electrify America's Zero-Emission Vehicle Investment Plan.

(Reference Executive Order 17-21, 2017)

Mandatory Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Building Standards

The Oregon Department of Business and Consumer Services, Building Code Division, must amend the state building code to require that all newly constructed residential and commercial building parking structures can support the installation of at least one level 2 EVSE by October 1, 2022. (Reference Executive Order 17-21, 2017)

Establishment of Recognition Programs for Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Adoption

The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) must design and establish Governor's Awards for automobile dealerships to encourage sales of PEVs. ODOE must also design and establish Governor's Awards for businesses and organizations that support PEV adoption through installing charging infrastructure and using PEVs in their fleets. (Reference Executive Order 17-21, 2017)

Support for Zero-Emission Buses

The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE), with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Public Utility Commission (PUC), Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the Department of Education, must develop tools and provide assistance to school districts about using zero-emission bus options when replacing school buses.

ODOT, with ODOE, PUC, and DEQ, must develop tools and best practices to help transit agencies when making decisions about using zero-emission buses in transit fleets. ODOT must also work with transit agencies, ODOE, DEQ, and the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division to access the environmental, public health, and financial benefits of an accelerated transition to zero-emission buses.

(Reference Executive Order 17-21, 2017)

Natural Gas and Propane Vehicle License Fee

Drivers using natural gas or propane to fuel a vehicle may pay an annual special use fuel license fee in lieu of the state fuel excise tax of $0.34 per gallon. The fee is determined by multiplying a base amount in the table below by the current tax rate and dividing by 12.

Combined Vehicle Weight (pounds)Base Amount
0 - 10,000$60
10,001 - 26,000$300
26,001 and above$400

(Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 319.535)

Plug-In Electric Vehicle and Vehicle Efficiency Fees

Beginning January 1, 2020, all-electric vehicle (EV) owners must pay an annual fee of $110. Beginning January 1, 2022, EV owners must pay a fee of $115. Medium-speed EV owners must pay an annual fee of $58. All other vehicles must pay an annual fee in the following amounts:

Vehicle EfficiencyJanuary 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021After December 31, 2021
Vehicles with a rating of 0-19 miles per gallon (mpg)$18$20
Vehicles with a rating of 20-39 mpg$23$25
Vehicles with a rating of 40 mpg or greater$33$35

These fees are in addition to standard registration fees. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 803.420-803.422)

State Agency Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Installation

State agencies may install publicly-accessible EVSE on their premises or contract with a vendor to do so. The Oregon Department of Administrative Services (DAS) will establish criteria to determine the appropriate number of locations for EVSE at each agency. A state agency may establish and adjust a uniform price for charging, provided that the price recovers, to the extent practicable, the cost of operating the EVSE and does not exceed 110% of the average market price for the use of public EVSE. DAS will report to the Legislative Assembly on the number, cost, and utilization of EVSE installed by state agencies by February 2019, February 2021, and February 2023.

DAS must add PEV charging capacity for employee and public visitor parking lots, develop contracts to procure and install charging infrastructure, and incorporate PEV charging as a tenant improvement for state-leased buildings.

(Reference House Bill 4022, 2018, Executive Order 17-21, 2017, and Oregon Revised Statutes 276.255)

Authorization of Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Rebates

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will establish a state rebate program for the purchase or lease of new light-duty ZEVs and PHEVs. DEQ will set the rebate amount annually. ZEVs or PHEVs with a battery capacity of 10 kilowatt-hours (kWh) or more will be eligible for rebates between $1,500 and $2,500 and ZEVs or PHEVs with a battery capacity of less than 10 kWh will be eligible for rebates between $750 and $1,500. Neighborhood electric vehicles and zero-emission motorcycles will be eligible for rebates between $375 and $750. Qualified vehicles must have a manufacturer's suggested retail price of less than $50,000.

Low- and moderate-income drivers that live in areas with elevated concentrations of air pollution will be eligible for an additional rebate of up to $2,500 for the purchase or lease of a new or used ZEV to replace a vehicle that is more than 20 years old.

(Reference Oregon Law 750.149, 2017)

Transportation Electrification Acceleration Programs

The Oregon Public Utility Commission must direct electric utilities to file applications for programs to accelerate transportation electrification. Eligible programs include investments in or customer rebates for electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). Among other criteria, programs must stimulate innovation, competition, and customer choice in EVSE and plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging.

Additionally, the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) must engage with publicly and investor-owned utilities on how to improve transportation electrification plans and increase PEV adoption in their service territories. ODOE must also provide the utilities with technical assistance on how to accommodate increased electric system loads from PEVs.

(Reference Executive Order 17-21, 2017, and Oregon Law 28, 2016)

Electricity Provider and Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Rate Regulations

Regulated electric utility tariffs must explicitly permit customers to resell electricity for use as a motor fuel, as long as the entity is not considered a public utility as defined in Oregon Revised Statutes 757.005 and does not provide any utility service. Additionally, each regulated electric utility must provide customers with a choice of flat rate or time of use electricity rates specific to PEV owners. (Reference Public Utility Commission of Oregon, Order No. 12-013, 2012)

Rented Commercial Property Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Installations

The tenant of a commercial space may submit an application to install EVSE for the use of the tenant, employees of the tenant, and customers of the tenant. Unless the premises does not have at least one parking space per rental unit, the landlord must approve a completed application no more than 60 days after the tenant submits the application. In the absence of a different tenant-landlord agreement, the EVSE will be personal property of the tenant and the tenant is responsible for all costs associated with installation and use of the EVSE. The tenant is responsible for maintaining a renter's liability insurance policy of at least $1 million. Upon the termination of the rental agreement, the landlord may require the tenant to remove the charging station and restore the premises. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 90.100 and 90.462)

Planned Community and Condominium Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Installations

The owner of a lot in a planned community or unit in a condominium may submit an application to install EVSE for their personal use in a parking space subject to the exclusive use of the owner. The homeowners association must approve a complete application within 60 days. The owner is responsible for all costs associated with the EVSE installation and use, must disclose the existence of the EVSE and related responsibilities to a prospective buyer, and must ensure that the infrastructure meets insurance and safety requirements. EVSE installed under these regulations on or before June 4, 2015, is considered to be the personal property of the lot or unit owner with which the EVSE is associated, unless the owner and homeowners association have negotiated a different outcome. Additional requirements and restrictions apply. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 94.550, 94.762, 100.005, and 100.627)

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Parking Space Regulation

An individual is not allowed to park a motor vehicle within any parking space specifically designated for public parking and fueling of AFVs unless the motor vehicle is an AFV fueled by electricity, natural gas, methanol, propane, gasoline blended with at least 85% ethanol (E85), or other fuel the Oregon Department of Energy approves. Eligible AFVs must also be in the process of fueling or charging to park in the space. A person found responsible for a violation is subject to traffic violation penalties. (Reference Oregon Law 208, 2015, and Oregon Revised Statutes 469B.100)

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support

Oregon joined California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, 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.

For more information, see the Multi-State ZEV Task Force website.

Clean Transportation Fuel Standards

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) administers the Oregon Clean Fuels Program (Program), which requires fuel producers and importers to register, keep records of, and report the volumes and carbon intensities of the fuels they provide in Oregon. Phase 2 of the Program, implemented in 2016, requires fuel suppliers to reduce the carbon content of transportation fuels.

DEQ must conduct rulemaking for the Program to support greater plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) adoption. DEQ must also develop a method to aggregate and monetize all eligible PEV credits in the Program to assist in achieving the state goal of 50,000 registered PEVs in Oregon by 2020. For more information, see the DEQ Oregon Clean Fuels Program website.

(Reference Executive Order 17-21, 2017, Oregon Revised Statutes 468A.270, and Oregon Administrative Rules 340-253)

Renewable Fuels Mandate

All gasoline sold in the state must be blended with 10% ethanol (E10). Gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or above is exempt from this mandate, as is gasoline sold for use in certain non-road applications. Gasoline that contains at least 9.2% agriculturally derived ethanol that meets ASTM specification D4806 complies with the mandate. For the purpose of the mandate, ethanol must meet ASTM specification D4806. The governor may suspend the renewable fuels mandate for ethanol if the Oregon Department of Energy finds that a sufficient amount of ethanol is not available.

All diesel fuel sold in the state must be blended with at least 5% biodiesel (B5). For the purpose of this mandate, biodiesel is defined as a motor vehicle fuel derived from vegetable oil, animal fat, or other non-petroleum resources, that is designated as B100 and complies with ASTM specification D6751. Renewable diesel qualifies as a substitute for biodiesel in the blending requirement. In addition, diesel fuel blends sold between October 1 and February 28 may contain additives to prevent congealing or gelling. At any time, the Oregon Department of Energy may request a certificate of fuel analysis for biodiesel sold at any non-retail and wholesale biodiesel dealer.

(Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 646.913 through 646.923 and Oregon Administrative Rules 603-027-0410 and 603-027-0420)

Commercial Vehicle Idle Reduction Requirement

A driver of a commercial vehicle may not idle the engine for more than five minutes in any sixty-minute period, unless the vehicle is using an auxiliary power unit, generator set, cargo temperature control unit, or other idle reduction technology that maintains heat or air conditioning or provides electrical power. Exceptions apply in certain situations and for certain vehicles. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 825.605 through 825.610)

Biodiesel Quality Testing Procedures

Each biodiesel or other renewable diesel producer, distributor, or importer must retain the certificate of analysis for each batch or production lot of B100 sold or delivered in the state for at least one year. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) or authorized agents may examine these records as necessary. The ODA or authorized agents may also perform on-site testing or obtain samples of biodiesel or other renewable diesel from any producer, bulk facility, or retail location that sells, distributes, transports, hauls, delivers, or stores biodiesel or other renewable diesel. The related testing cost is the responsibility of the business providing the sample. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 646.923)

Biofuels Program Impact Studies

The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) must conduct periodic impact studies related to the biofuels industry in the state. These studies should evaluate such criteria as: jobs created; current and projected feedstock availability; amount of biofuels blends produced and consumed in the state; cost comparison of biofuels blends and petroleum fuel; environmental impacts; and the extent to which Oregon producers import biofuels or biofuels feedstocks from outside the state. ODOE issued the first Biofuels Impact Study in 2010 and will conduct a study every two years through January 1, 2025. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 469B.400)

Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Standards

Under the Oregon LEV Program, all new passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles sold, leased, licensed, or delivered for sale in the state must meet California vehicle emissions standards stated in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations, Section 1962. Exemptions may apply. Each motor vehicle manufacturer must comply with the fleet average emission requirements as well as the warranty, recall, and other applicable requirements.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) must work with the Environmental Quality Commission to maintain consistency with California's zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) regulation, including any ZEV sales requirement increases. DEQ must also work with the Oregon Department of Justice and take appropriate steps to retain California's exemption for vehicle standards that are more protective of air quality under the Federal Clean Air Act.

For more information, see the Oregon LEV Program website.

(Reference Executive Order 17-21, 2017, Oregon Revised Statutes 468A.360, and Oregon Administrative Rules 340-257)

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Acquisition, Fuel Use, and Emissions Reductions Requirements

All state agencies and transit districts must purchase AFVs and use alternative fuels to operate those vehicles to the maximum extent possible, except in regions where it is not economically or logistically possible to fuel an AFV. Each state agency must develop and report a greenhouse gas reduction baseline and determine annual reduction targets. Reports to the Oregon Department of Administrative Services (DAS) must include the number of purchases or leases of AFVs or AFV conversions and the quantity of each type of alternative fuel used annually by state agency fleets.

DAS and the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) must improve the plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) bulk procurement process to reduce costs for state agency PEV purchases. DAS must develop a "Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) First" policy to encourage state employees to use PEVs or other LEVs in the state fleet. DAS and ODOE must also develop a tool to calculate the long-term return on investment and life-cycle costs of PEVs to inform agencies of potential cost savings. In addition, DAS must inform and support legislative changes that enable increased charging infrastructure and state agency PEV purchases.

(Reference Executive Order 17-21, 2017, Oregon Revised Statutes 283.327 and 267.030, and Executive Order 06-02, 2006)

Low-Speed Vehicle and Medium-Speed Electric Vehicle (EV) Access to Roadways

A low-speed vehicle is defined as a four-wheeled motor vehicle capable of reaching speeds of more than 20 miles per hour (mph) but not more than 25 mph. A low-speed vehicle may not operate on a highway that has a posted speed limit of more than 35 mph. A medium-speed EV is defined as a four-wheeled electric motor vehicle that is equipped with a roll cage or a crushproof body design and is capable of reaching speeds of up to 35 mph. A medium-speed EV may not operate on a highway that has a posted speed limit of more than 45 mph. A city or county may adopt ordinances that allow the operation of low-speed vehicles or medium-speed EVs on city streets or county roads that have posted speed limits greater than 35 mph and 45 mph, respectively. Low-speed vehicles and medium-speed EVs must comply with certain standards contained in Title 49 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, section 571.500. (Reference Oregon Administrative Rules 737-010-0010, and Oregon Revised Statutes 801.331, 801.341, and 811.512 through 811.513)

Alternative Fuel Excise Tax

Compressed natural gas motor fuel is subject to the state fuel excise tax at the rate of $0.34 per 120 cubic feet, measured at 14.73 pounds per square inch and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Propane motor fuel is subject to the excise tax $0.34 per 1.3 gallons at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 319.530)