Green Driver State Incentives in Hawaii
Hawaii offers many green driver incentives—especially to residents with electric cars—to encourage eco-friendly driving. Read on and learn how you (or your business) can save money for adopting earth-friendly driving habits.
Please also note that Hawaii eco-friendly driver incentives and related laws might change as green driving evolves. Also consult your local motor vehicle agency office and the Alternative Fuels Data Center to keep pace.
At this time, the cities and counties of Hawaii do not require smog and emission testing as a requirement of first-time HI registration or registration renewal. Therefore, no emissions exemptions exist. Newer model vehicles—regardless of whether they are electric, hybrid, or alternative fuel vehicles—might be exempt from a safety inspection. Refer to our Car Registration section for more details.
The perks of driving an electric vehicle in Hawaii continue to improve. To qualify for the following incentives, know that the State defines an electric vehicle as one that:
- Runs off a battery that can store at least 4 hours kilowatt-hours of energy OR 2.5 hours for 2 or 3 wheeled vehicle.
- Is powered by a rechargeable battery that draws from an external source of electricity.
If your vehicle qualifies as an electric vehicle, check out the following two incentives. You can also refer to Hawaii Act 168, the Hawaii State Energy Office, or the Alternative Fuels Data Center for the latest.
High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane Exemption for Plug-In Electric Vehicles
Regardless of the number of passengers in your vehicle, you can use Hawaii's high occupancy vehicle lanes if your electric car (EV) or plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) bears a special, Hawaii-issued EV license plate. For more on obtaining an HI license plate, consult our section on license plates and placards. To read more on high occupancy vehicle lane restrictions for EVs, refer to Hawaii Act 168.
Parking Payment Exemptions for Plug-In Electric Vehicles
As with the HOV lane exemption mentioned above, if your Hawaii-registered EV or PEV has a special electric vehicle license plate, you are exempt from parking fees charged by state or county authorities in Hawaii. This means free parking at parking meters. However, the exemption does not apply:
- Beyond 2.5 hours of meter time (or beyond the maximum time allowed by the meter—whichever is longer).
- To parking fees covering increments longer than one day. This includes parking permits for weekly, monthly, and annual use.
Consult Hawaii Act 168 for full details.
Some Hawaii auto insurance providers offer insurance discounts for having green driving habits and/or driving a fuel-efficient vehicle. Consult your car insurance company about potential green vehicle discounts such as:
- Hybrid auto discounts.
- Alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) discounts.
- Economy car discounts.
- Low-mileage discounts.
- Pay as you drive discounts.
Provider and different circumstances can cause auto discounts to vary. For example, you may qualify to receive up to a 10% discount on car insurance for owning or leasing a hybrid or electric car.
If your current Hawaii auto insurance carrier doesn't reward eco-friendly driving, find one that does. Compare auto insurance rates online and save some green for going green.
Qualified residential and commercial customers of the following companies can save money on their electric bill by taking advantage of time-of-use and off-peak nighttime rates when charging their plug-in electric vehicle (PEV):
- Hawaiian Electric Company.
- Maui Electric Company.
- Hawaii Electric Light Company.
These pilot rates apply to those charging highway-capable, plug-in electric vehicles. For more on discounted electric vehicle charging rates, visit the Clean Energy section of the electric company's website.
Hawaii taxpayers have two options when it comes to tax incentives—one at the federal level and one for businesses. As green initiatives pick up speed, more money-saving tax incentives for HI residents might arise.
Federal Tax Credits for Fuel Efficient Vehicle Owners
Although Hawaii currently doesn't offer any tax incentives for individual vehicle owners, there are a number of federal tax credits for green drivers. You might qualify for tax credits offered by the IRS if you own an:
- Electric car (EV).
- Plug-In hybrid (PEV).
- Other Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV).
For additional information on federal tax credits for green vehicle owners, consult fueleconomy.gov's Tax Incentive Information Center. And as always, be sure to talk to your preferred tax preparer or an agent from your local IRS Tax Payer Assistance Center.
Ethanol Production Incentive for Businesses
For now, Hawaii offers only one state tax incentive—the Ethanol Production Incentive—and it's for business vehicles.
Tthe Ethanol Production Incentive offers tax incentives to ethanol producers if they were in business during certain dates and meet specific production quotas.