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 Vehicle (AFV) Loan Program

The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) AFV Revolving Fund provides loans to public agencies, private entities, and tribes for the incremental cost of AFVs and AFV conversions. Priority will be given to converting petroleum-powered vehicles to AFVs. The loan recipient may be responsible for a fee of 0.1% of the loan, up to $2,500, as well as fees to cover the cost of application processing. ODOE may set the interest rate anywhere from 0% to the current market rate, with a loan term up to six years. Eligible vehicles include those powered by electricity, biofuel, gasoline and alcohol blends with at least 20% alcohol content, hydrogen, natural gas, propane, or any other fuel ODOE approves that produces lower exhaust emissions or is more energy efficient than gasoline or diesel. For more information, including application forms and interest rate and fee information, see the ODOE website. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 469.960 through 469.966)

Alternative Fueling Infrastructure Tax Credit for Residents

Through the Residential Energy Tax Credit program, qualified residents may receive a tax credit for 25% of alternative fuel infrastructure project costs, up to $750. Qualified residents may receive a tax credit for 50% of project costs, up to $750. Qualified alternative fuels include electricity, natural gas, gasoline blended with at least 85% ethanol (E85), propane, and other fuels that the Oregon Department of Energy approves. A company that constructs a dwelling in Oregon and installs fueling infrastructure in the dwelling may claim the credit. Qualified infrastructure must be installed to meet all federal, state, and local codes and be capable of fueling or charging an alternative fuel vehicle within 14 hours. This credit is available through December 31, 2017. For more information, including a list of eligible equipment and a link to the application, please see the Oregon Department of Energy Residential Energy Tax Credit website. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 316.116, 317.115, and 469B.160-469B.180)

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Infrastructure Tax Credit for Businesses

Business owners and others may be eligible for a tax credit of 35% of eligible costs for qualified alternative fuel infrastructure projects, or the incremental or conversion cost of two or more AFVs. Qualified infrastructure includes facilities for mixing, storing, compressing, or dispensing fuels for vehicles operating on alternative fuels. Qualified alternative fuels include electricity, natural gas, gasoline blended with at least 85% ethanol (E85), propane, and other fuels that the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) approves. Unused credits may be carried forward up to five years. Non-profit organizations and public entities that do not have an Oregon tax liability may receive the credit for an eligible project but must "pass-through" or transfer their project eligibility to a pass-through partner in exchange for a lump-sum cash payment. ODOE determines the rate that is used to calculate the cash payment. The pass-through option is also available to a project owner with an Oregon tax liability who chooses to transfer their tax credit. The credit is available through the applicant's 2017 tax year. For more information, see the ODOE Transportation Tax Credits website. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 315.336, 469B.320, and 469B.323)

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. 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 Senate Bill 1008, 2017)

Biodiesel Tax Exemption

Biodiesel blends containing at least 20% biodiesel derived from used cooking oil are exempt from the $0.30 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 400 pounds to accommodate the added weight of the idle reduction technology. Any NGV may exceed the limits by up to 2,000 pounds. (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

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)

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 $0.30 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 owners must pay an annual fee of $110. Medium-speed EV owners must pay an annual fee of $58. All other vehicles must pay an annual fee in the following amounts:

Vehicle EfficiencyAnnual Fee
Vehicles with a rating of 0-19 miles per gallon (mpg)$18
Vehicles with a rating of 20-39 mpg$23
Vehicles with a rating of 40 mpg or greater$33

These fees are in addition to standard registration fees. (Reference House Bill 2017, 2017)

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 may install up to 10 EVSE over a two-year period. Other state agencies may install five EVSE every two years. Additional EVSE are allowable if the agency secures a grant for the installation. A state agency may establish and adjust prices for charging, provided that the price does not subsidize the operations of a private entity or the cost of electricity or substantially exceed the costs the agency incurs to make the electricity available. Additional restrictions apply. (Reference 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. 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 House Bill 2017, 2017)

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)

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 House Bill 2510, 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 charging. (Reference Senate Bill 1547, 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)

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. For more information, see the DEQ Oregon Clean Fuels Program website. (Reference 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. For more information, see the Oregon LEV Program website. (Reference 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 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. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 283.327 and 267.030, and Executive Order 06-02, 2006)

Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) and Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) Registration Fees

PEVs and HEVs are generally treated the same as conventional vehicles with regard to registration. PEVs and HEVs are registered biennially, with the exception of new vehicles for which new registration plates are issued. Certain PEVs and HEVs, including commercial buses, follow an annual registration period. The registration fee is $43 per vehicle for each year of the registration period. There is an additional fee for PEVs or HEVs in certain weight categories. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 803.415 and 803.420)

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 $0.30 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 $0.30 per 1.3 gallons at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. (Reference Oregon Revised Statutes 319.530)