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:

Utility/Private Incentives

All-Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebate - Burlington Electric Department (BED)

BED customers are eligible for a $1,200 rebate on the purchase or lease of a new qualifying EV on or after May 30, 2017. 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, 2017. For more information, including how to apply, see the BED EV Rebate website.

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

VEC offers a $250 bill credit to members who purchase a new or used PEV. Members who lease a PEV are eligible for an annual bill credit of $50 for each year of the lease. Credits are available through December 31, 2017. For more information, including how to apply, see the VEC Energy Transformation Program website.

Laws and Regulations

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)

Low Emission Vehicle Standards

New vehicles sold or offered for sale in Vermont must meet California emissions and compliance requirements in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations. Requirements apply to vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 14,000 pounds. Manufacturers must comply with Zero Emission Vehicle sales requirements and greenhouse gas emissions 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 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. 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.

Support for Autonomous Vehicles

The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) must assemble a meeting of public and private stakeholders on or before December 15, 2017, to discuss raising awareness regarding the opportunities and challenges of autonomous vehicles. Topics of discussion may include:

  • 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 is required to report the conclusions of this meeting to the Vermont House and Senate Committees on Transportation by January 15, 2018. (Reference House Bill 494, 2017)

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)

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)