Vermont Laws and Incentives

Listed below are the summaries of all current Vermont 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

Heavy-Duty Vehicle Emissions Reduction Grants

Through the Vermont Diesel Emissions Reduction Grants Program, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) provides funding to local, state and regional agencies or departments, businesses, institutions, and nonprofit organizations for projects focused on reducing emissions from diesel engines and vehicles. Qualifying heavy-duty vehicles include buses and Class 5-8 trucks. Projects eligible for funding are as follows:

  • Verified emission control technologies;
  • Verified idle reduction technologies;
  • Verified aerodynamic technologies and low rolling resistance tires;
  • Certified engine replacements;
  • Alternative fuel conversions; and
  • Certified vehicle or equipment replacements.
All technologies and engines must be certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Alternative fuels include, but are not limited to, biodiesel, natural gas, propane, electricity, and fuel cell electric. Cost share requirements vary by project. For more information, including application details, see the DEC Vermont Diesel Emissions Reduction Grants website.

Alternative Fueling Infrastructure Incentive

The Vermont State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) offers loan assistance to municipalities, regional development corporations, political subdivisions of the state, and private companies working for the state to finance public electric vehicle charging and natural gas fueling stations. 1% fixed loans are available to municipalities and 3% fixed loans are available to private sector borrowers. Other terms and conditions may apply. See the Vermont Economic Development Authority's SIB page for more information, including how to apply.

Utility/Private Incentives

Plug-In Electric Vehicle Rebate - Burlington Electric Department (BED)

BED customers are eligible for a $1,200 rebate on the purchase or lease of a new qualifying all-electric vehicle on or after May 30, 2017. Qualifying plug-in hybrid electric vehicles purchased or leased on or after June 8, 2017, are eligible for a $600 rebate. Vehicles must have a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of less than $50,000 and be registered in Burlington, VT. Rebates are available through December 31, 2018. For more information, including how to apply, see the BED Electric Vehicle Rebate website.

Plug-In Electric Vehicle Credit - Vermont Electric Co-op (VEC)

VEC offers a $250 bill credit to members who purchase a new or used plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and a $500 bill credit to members who purchase a new or used all-electric vehicle (EV). Members who lease a PHEV are eligible for an annual bill credit of $50 for each year of the lease. For members who lease an EV, an annual bill credit of $100 is available for each year of the lease. Credits are available through December 31, 2018. For more information, including how to apply, see the VEC Energy Transformation Program website.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Credit - Vermont Electric Co-op (VEC)

VEC offers a bill credit of $500 per connector, up to $2,000, to VEC member businesses and public entities that install Level 2 or DC fast EVSE between July 2, 2017 and December 31, 2018. To qualify, the EVSE must be available for public use. Bill credits are available for up to 30 connectors total. For more information, including how to apply, see the VEC Energy Transformation Program website.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Incentives - Green Mountain Power (GMP)

GMP residential customers are eligible for a free Level 2 EVSE when they purchase a new all-electric vehicle (EV). Residential customers that already own an EV may rent a Level 2 EVSE station at a low monthly fee. In addition, customers may enroll in GMP's EV Unlimited Plan for unlimited EV charging during off-peak hours at a flat monthly fee. For more information about these incentives, see GMP's In-Home Level 2 EV Charger website.

Laws and Regulations

Volkswagen Settlement Allocation

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources must select projects and distribute funding to leverage 15% of Vermont's portion of the Volkswagen Clean Air Act Civil Settlement for the purchase of light-duty vehicle electric vehicle supply equipment. The remaining funding must be allocated towards projects that replace eligible vehicles and equipment with all-electric technologies or convert them to all-electric. (Reference House Bill 16, 2018)

Carbon Reduction Procurement Policies

The Vermont Agency of Administration and the Climate Cabinet must revise state acquisition policies to ensure consideration of vendor business practices that promote clean energy and address climate change. Policies should consider, for example, the use of and support of plug-in electric and zero emission vehicles, including providing workplace charging stations. (Reference Executive Order 05-16, 2016)

Idle Reduction Requirement

A driver may not idle a motor vehicle for more than five minutes in a 60-minute period. This limit does not apply if the vehicle is operating an auxiliary power unit, generator set, or other mobile idle reduction technology. Additional exemptions apply. Additionally, all driver education courses must include instruction on the adverse environmental, health, economic, and other impacts of unnecessary idling and on the law governing idling of motor vehicles. (Reference Vermont Statutes Title 23, Chapter 13, Section 1110 and Title 16, Chapter 23, Section 1045)

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Sales Requirements and Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Standards

Vermont has adopted the California motor vehicle emissions standards and compliance requirements specified in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations. These regulations apply to new vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 14,000 pounds. Manufacturers must meet the greenhouse gas emissions standard and the ZEV production and sales requirements. (Reference Vermont Air Pollution Control Regulations 5-1101 through 5-1109)

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Acquisition Requirements

The Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services must consider AFVs when purchasing vehicles for state use, provided that the alternative fuel is suitable for the vehicle's operation, is available in the region where the vehicle will be used, and is competitively priced with conventional fuels. (Reference Vermont Statutes Title 29, Chapter 49, Section 903)

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support

Vermont joined California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island 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.

In June 2018, the Task Force published a new ZEV Action Plan for 2018-2021. Building on the 2014 Action Plan, the 2018 Action Plan makes recommendations for states and other key partners in five priority areas:

  • Raising consumer awareness and interest in electric vehicle technology;
  • Building out a reliable and convenient residential, workplace and public charging/fueling infrastructure network;
  • Continuing and improving access to consumer purchase and non-financial incentives;
  • Expanding public and private sector fleet adoption; and
  • Supporting dealership efforts to increase ZEV sales.

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

Support for Autonomous Vehicles

The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) assembled a meeting of public and private stakeholders on November 8, 2017, to discuss raising awareness regarding the opportunities and challenges of autonomous vehicles. Topics of discussion included:

  • Autonomous vehicle registration and inspection;
  • Autonomous vehicle education, training, and operator licensing;
  • Insurance and liability;
  • Enforcement of autonomous vehicle laws;
  • Autonomous vehicle testing;
  • Emergency response;
  • Autonomous vehicle infrastructure needs; and the
  • Social, economic, and environmental impacts of autonomous vehicles
VTrans reported on the conclusions of this meeting in its report to the Vermont General Assembly, Preparing for Automated Vehicles in Vermont.

Natural Gas Tax

Natural gas used to propel a motor vehicle is not subject to the state gasoline tax, but is subject to state sales and use tax. (Reference Vermont Statutes Title 32, Chapter 233, Section 9741, and Title 23, Chapter 28, Section 3101)

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Analysis

The Vermont Public Utility Commission (Commission) must evaluate PEVs and PEV charging in the state. The Commission must provide public notice, opportunity for submission of written comments, and one or more workshops on PEVs before the evaluation is conducted. In its report, the Commission must include analysis and recommendations on the following topics regarding electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) owned by electric utilities:

  • Removal of barriers to EVSE installation, including strategies to reduce operating costs for EVSE users;
  • Strategies to manage the impact of PEV charging on the electric transmission and distribution system;
  • Strategies to facilitate the services provided by PEVs to the electric transmission and distribution system;
  • Benefits and costs to the electric system of PEV charging, electric utility planning for PEV charging, and rate design for PEV charging; and
  • The role of electric utilities with respect to the deployment and operation of EVSE.
For EVSE owned or operated by non-utility entities, the Commission must report on its analysis and recommendations for:

  • How and when these EVSE stations will obtain electricity;
  • Safety standards for EVSE;
  • The role of the Commission and other relevant state agencies in managing these EVSE;
  • Regulations, if any, on pricing structures for EVSE, including transparency to the consumer of any rates or prices; and
  • Billing and complaint procedures for EVSE.
The Commission must also consider:

  • Options for PEV drivers to contribute toward the cost of maintaining the State's transportation infrastructure;
  • The accuracy of electric metering and submetering technology for PEV charging;
  • Strategies to encourage PEV adoption and achieve the State's Comprehensive Energy Plan and greenhouse gas reduction goals; and
  • Any other topics that the Commission believes are relevant to fair, cost-effective, and accessible PEV charging.
During its evaluation, the Commission must also report any recommendations for proposed legislation. The Commission must submit a report to relevant Vermont House and Senate committees by July 1, 2019. (Reference House Bill 197, 2018)

Support for Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Adoption

The Vermont Climate Action Commission (VCAC) was established to evaluate actions that the state can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors of the economy, including transportation. VCAC published its Final Report on July 31st, 2018, which recommends that Vermont take the following actions to increase PEV adoption:

  • Reduce the purchase cost of PEVs;
  • Increase the availability of electric vehicle supply equipment;
  • Increase public awareness of PEVs and their benefits.
For more information, see the VCAC website. (Reference Executive Order 12-17, 2017)

State Agency Energy Plan Transportation Requirements

The Vermont Agency of Administration developed and oversees the implementation of the State Agency Energy Plan (Plan). The Agency of Administration must modify the Plan as necessary and re-adopt it on or before January 15 of each fifth year. As specified in the 2016 Plan, the Vermont Agency of Transportation must continue to use 5% biodiesel (B5) in its fleet of heavy-duty vehicles. The Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services will increase its deployment of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) to comprise at least 25% of its light-duty fleet by 2025 and install electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), as necessary. All state agencies must install EVSE and increase their use of PEVs to a level that will displace 10% of their gasoline use by 2020.

(Reference Vermont Statutes Title 3, Chapter 45, Section 2291, and Executive Order 15-12, 2012)

School Bus Idle Reduction Requirement

School bus operators must turn off the bus engine immediately after arriving at a student loading and unloading area located on school grounds, and may not start the engine until the bus is ready to leave the school grounds. In addition, operators may not idle the engine for more than five minutes in a 60-minute period on school grounds. Exceptions include periods when the engine is necessary to operate special equipment for disabled persons; to address safety, traffic, health, or emergency concerns; or to service the vehicle. (Reference Vermont State Board of Education Rules and Practices 6001 through 6005, and Vermont Statutes Title 23, Chapter 13, Section 1282)

Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) Access to Roadways

An NEV is defined as an electric vehicle that is designed to operate at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour (mph); carries up to four people; has at least four wheels and a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 3,000 pounds; and conforms to the minimum safety equipment requirements as adopted in Title 49 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, section 571.500. An NEV may only be used on roads with a posted speed limit of up to 35 mph. The operator of an NEV may cross a highway that has a speed limit of up to 50 mph if the crossing begins and ends on a road authorized for use by NEVs and the intersection has a traffic control signal. The State Traffic Committee or the legislative body of a municipality for town highways may prohibit NEVs from crossing specific intersections in their jurisdiction if the decision is made in the interest of public safety. (Reference Vermont Statutes Title 23, Chapter 1, Section 4, and Title 23, Chapter 13, Sections 1007a and 1043)