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  • Green Driver State Incentives in Maryland

    Maryland encourages residents to adopt eco-friendly driving habits by offering numerous green driver incentives—ranging from emissions test exemptions to full-time high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane access, regardless of the number of passengers. If you drive an electric car, hybrid, or alternative fuel vehicle—or are in the market to buy a fuel-efficient car—read on for ways to save time and money as an eco-friendly driver.

    MD's eco-friendly incentives and laws are ever-evolving, just like our state's general traffic laws. Be sure to bookmark this page and also check with your local Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) for the latest.

    Maryland Emissions Testing Exemptions

    Under the Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP), Maryland requires most vehicles to undergo either an on-board diagnostics (OBD) test or an idle tailpipe and gas cap test. However, the following hybrids are exempt from VEIP testing until the dates specified below:

    • 2010 Toyota Prius—exempt from testing until 2014.
    • 2011 Toyota Prius—exempt from testing until 2015.
    • 2012 Toyota Prius and Prius C—exempt from testing until 2016

    That’s because Maryland requires newly registered qualified hybrids* to undergo VEIP testing at least 36 months following their model year. Additionally, all hybrids must undergo an inspection on the normal 2-year VEIP test cycle.

    *Qualified hybrids are those with a city fuel economy test rating of at least 50 miles per gallon (mpg) from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    To determine which test your vehicle needs, consult the VEIP General Information page. To locate the nearest emissions station, scroll down to the locator widget at the bottom of this page.

    Auto Insurance Discounts for Eco-Friendly Driving and Green Vehicles

    Some Maryland auto insurance providers offer car insurance discounts for having green driving habits and/or driving a fuel-efficient vehicle. Consult your auto 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.

    Car insurance discounts vary by provider and circumstances. For example, you might receive a 10% discount on car insurance for owning or leasing a hybrid car, while maintaining low mileage can earn you up to a 30% auto insurance discount.

    If your current MD 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.

    MD HOV Lane Access for Plug-In Electric Vehicles (PEV)

    Drivers of approved plug-in electric vehicles can use Maryland’s high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes at all times, even if they are traveling solo. Qualifying PEVs must:

    • Be capable of traveling at a maximum speed of at least 65 miles per hour (mph.)
    • Display a permit* issued by the (MVA).

    The MVA may charge up to $20 for the permit. Consult your local branch for more on fees and steps for landing one. According to the MD government, this HOV incentive for PEV drivers may only be in effect until September 30, 2017.

    MD State Tax Incentives and Federal Tax Credits

    Maryland’s green-minded drivers have a few opportunities to save money in the form of tax breaks:

    • Electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) tax credit.
    • Plug-in vehicle (PEV) excise tax credit.
    • Federal tax credits.

    Read on for specifics. If you need help navigating your way through filing, consult a tax professional, the Comptroller of Maryland, or your local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.

    Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Tax Credit Program

    Maryland residents and businesses can take advantage of a state income tax credit when buying an electric vehicle charging station. Through the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Tax Credit Program, eligible taxpayers can earn a tax credit of up to $400. To apply:

    1. Download and complete the appropriate Initial Credit Certificate application for residents or businesses.
    2. Download and complete EVSE Form A.
    3. Gather any required documentation mentioned in the application.
    4. Mail all paperwork to:

    Attention: EVSE Tax Credit Program
    Maryland Energy Administration
    60 West Street, Suite 300
    Annapolis, MD 21401

    The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) offers the tax credit on a first-come, first-serve basis. For additional guidelines and info on claiming your tax credit, consult the MEA's program page.

    Plug-In Electric Vehicles (PEV) Excise Tax Credit

    Maryland offers individuals who purchase or lease a qualifying plug-in electric vehicle a one-time excise PEV tax credit of up to $1,000 while funds last. Even local businesses get a break if they qualify; the tax break is also good for up to 10 company vehicles.

    The excise tax credit expires June 30, 2014. If you bought your new PEV through an MD auto dealer, the dealer will walk you through requesting the tax credit. However, if you bought a new electric vehicle from an out-of-state dealer, or if you inked a deal for a used PEV from a previous MD owner, download the Excise Tax Request for a Plug-In Electric Vehicle form and get the process underway soon.

    To review the qualifying criteria and breakdown of tax credit amounts, refer to the MVA’s page on plug-in EV excise tax credits. Or if you have questions, call the MVA Customer Service Center at (410) 768-7000 or (301) 729-4563 for the hearing impaired.

    Federal Tax Credits for Fuel-Efficient Car Buyers

    Maryland green-vehicle buyers can also take advantage of IRS tax breaks. Owners of the following fuel-efficient vehicles might be eligible for federal tax credits:

    • Electric cars (EV).
    • Hybrids.
    • Plug-in hybrids (PHEV).
    • Diesels.
    • Alternative fuel vehicles (AFV).

    For specifics, refer to fueleconomy.gov.

    Public, Commercial, and Non-Profit Agency Vehicles

    Maryland Freedom Fleet Voucher (FFV) Program

    The Maryland Freedom Fleet Voucher (FFV) Program provides financial assistance to drivers who purchase new and converted alternative fuel vehicles registered in Maryland and for public, commercial, or non-profit agency use.

    Eligible vehicles include:

    • Dedicated compressed natural gas (CNG).
    • Dedicated liquefied natural gas (LNG).
    • Propane powered.
    • Hybrid electric.
    • Hydraulic hybrid.
    • Plug-in electric.

    Funds are served on a first come, first serve basis, and vary based on fuel and gross vehicle weight (GVW). For example, a driver can receive up to $3,000 for a vehicle with an 8,500 GVW and $20,000 for a vehicle with a GVW of 26,001 or more.

    Find applications and more at the Maryland Freedom Fleet Voucher Program website.

    Maryland Idle Reduction Technology Grant Program

    The Maryland Idle Reduction Technology Grant Program provides financial assistance regarding idle reduction technology for commercial trucks.

    The program helps pay for the purchase and installation of idle reduction technology for the truck dealer, distributor, and/or installer.

    For more information about the Idle Reduction Technology Grant Program, including grant application and completion packages, visit the Maryland Idle Reduction Technology Grant Program website.

    Pepco Plug-In Vehicle Charging Program

    Pepco offers a Plug-In Vehicle Charging Pilot to help green drivers save money and reduce the strain on the electric grid. To qualify, you must:

    • Be a Maryland residential customer of Pepco.
    • Have a plug-in vehicle that can travel a minimum of 30 miles fueled by electricity.
    • Have your EV registered in Maryland.

    Program options vary depending on whether you already have a Level 2 Charging Station installed at home. Regardless, all qualified customers can enjoy lower electric bills by charging during the 16 off-peak hours per day (Monday through Friday) and all day on Saturday and Sunday and during holidays. For specifics, visit Pepco's charging pilot program page or download a brochure.

    EV Charging Pilot—Baltimore Gas and Electric Company

    Baltimore Gas and Electric Company offers an electric vehicle time-of-use charging rate through its pilot program. To volunteer for this pilot, you must:

    • Be a BGE residential customer.
    • Own or lease a qualifying plug-in electric vehicle.
    • Charge your EV via a connection to the BGE electric distribution system.
    • Charge your EV at your primary residence on a single time-of-use meter that is also used to measure the electricity of your whole house.

    For specifics, consult BGE’s Residential EV Time-of-Use Pilot Schedule.

    Electric Vehicles and Recharging Equipment-Rebates and Tax Credit Bill

    Starting July 1, 2014 and continuing through June 30, 2017, the Electric Vehicles and Recharging Equipment-Rebates and Tax Credit Bill will:

    • Extend a tax credit on the purchase of a plug-in electric vehicle for 3 years,
    • Increase the tax credit provided to most vehicles, and,
    • Enhance incentive for the purchase and installation of EV recharging station equipment.

    The new tax credit is based on the vehicle's battery size; more specifically, the credit can be as high as $3,000 based on $125 times the number of kilowatt-hours battery capacity.

    Also, the breakdown for the recharging station equipment rebate program is as follows:

    • Residential Customers: Up to 50% of costs, not to exceed $900.
    • Commercial Entities: Up to 50% of costs, not to exceed $5,000.
    • Retail Service Stations: Up to 50% of costs, not to exceed $7,500.
    • Local and State Government: Up to 50% of costs, not to exceed $5,000.

    For more information, refer to the the Office of the Governor as well as HB 1345 and SB 908.

    Transportation & Climate Initiative of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States

    Maryland is one of 12 participating states of the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI). This collaboration of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic jurisdictions aims to grow the clean energy economy, shrink oil dependence, and reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. As an eco-friendly driver, you might be interested in TCI's efforts to enhance the environment.

    Find a Nearby Maryland Emissions Testing Station

    Locate the closest MD smog and emissions testing station with the widget below: