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Green Driver State Incentives in Pennsylvania

Want to reduce your carbon footprint and put a little extra cash in your wallet? Go green with your driving. Pennsylvania offers several money-saving incentives for driving fuel efficient cars, including hybrid and electric vehicles. Some of these incentives come as financial rebates and exemptions, and some include funding and grants not only for regular passenger alternative fuel vehicles, but also assistance for businesses and research.

Please also note that Pennsylvania green incentives and laws might change, so also consult your local Pennsylvania Driver and Vehicle Services office and the Alternative Fuels Data Center.

Pennsylvania Vehicle Registration and Emissions Testing

For the purposes of first-time vehicle registration and registration renewal, Pennsylvania requires all vehicles to annually pass an emissions test before completing a safety inspection. Check the state's Emission Test Calculator to determine the kinds of tests your vehicle needs. Your registration renewal card will also notify you of testing requirements.

To find the nearest emissions test center, scroll down to our locator widget at the bottom of the page.

PA Emissions Test Exemptions

If the following applies, your vehicle might be exempt from an emissions test:

  • You live in a PA county* that does not require emissions testing.
  • Your vehicle is powered by diesel fuel**.
  • Your vehicle registration renewal card does not include this message: Emissions Inspection Required/Diesel Vehicles Exempt.

*The following 42 counties are exempt from emissions testing: Adams, Armstrong, Bedford, Bradford, Butler, Cameron, Carbon, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Elk, Fayette, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lawrence, McKean, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Wayne, and Wyoming.

**Some areas also exempt all non-gasoline powered vehicles from emissions testing and vehicles driven less than 5,000 miles in the previous year. These include the Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and South Central regions. The Northern region exempts non-gasoline powered vehicles, but not vehicles driven less than 5,000 miles per year. If you live in a county that does not fall within the above-listed regions, refer to Drive Clean Pennsylvania's section on Other Counties.

For full details on emissions testing and exemptions, refer to Drive Clean Pennsylvania and our section titled Smog & Emissions Checks.

Federal Tax Incentives for PA Fuel-Efficient Car Owners

In addition to qualifying for the numerous Pennsylvania-specific incentives*, you might be eligible for a significant federal tax credit for the purchase of any of the following:

  • Electric cars (EV).
  • Plug-in hybrids (PHEV).
  • Alternative fuel vehicles (AFV).
  • Hydrogen/propane fuel cell

Refer to the Tax Incentive Information Center at fueleconomy.gov. If you need help navigating your way through tax incentives, consult a tax professional or your local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.

*Please note vehicles such as standard hybrid, diesel and flexible fuel, do not qualify for this rebate:

Time-Saving High Occupancy (HOV) Lanes

Currently, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) provides a High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane along I-279, the Parkway North and the I-579, Veterans Bridge in Allegheny County.

HOV lanes help reduce congestion as well as save you a few bucks, particularly when you carpool. When you buckle up with at least 2 people (the state's requirement for using the HOV lanes) in your vehicle, you save on gas money, time, and vehicle wear and tear. Just be sure to check the HOV lane hours of operation and access points before heading out.

Auto Insurance Discounts for Eco-Friendly Driving and Green Vehicles

Some Pennsylvania 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.

There are also good automobile insurance discounts you can take advantage of by owning or leasing a hybrid vehicle. For example, you might receive as much as a 10% discount on car insurance. Additional discounts may be available if you keep your yearly mileage low.

If your current Pennsylvania auto insurance carrier doesn't reward eco-friendly driving, then you should find one that does by comparing auto insurance rates online.

Pennsylvania Idle-Reduction Weight Exemptions

Because adding idle-reduction technology to a motor vehicle also adds significant weight, Pennsylvania allows some vehicles to exceed state weight limits. If your vehicle's idle reduction technology qualifies, it can exceed the maximum gross weight and axle weight limits by up to 400 lbs.

Refer to the Pennsylvania Statutes (Title 35, Chapter 23B, Section 4604) for more legal details.

Rebates, Grants, and Loans for PA's Green Drivers

Pennsylvania residents and businesses have a number of opportunities to save money through state and private rebates. Plus, you can also get a financial boost with grants and loans geared toward encouraging drivers to become more green-minded. Read on for details.

PECO Smart Driver Rebate

The Pennsylvania Energy Company (PECO) rewards its residential and business customers simply for investing in new electric vehicle technology. All you have to do is let PECO know you've bought an electric vehicle by completing the PECO Smart Driver Rebate web form, and you'll be on your way to earning a $50 rebate per EV.

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Rebate Program

Pennsylvania's Earth-conscious car buyers might be eligible for rebates offered through the Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Rebate Program for the purchase of a new:

  • Plug-in hybrid.
  • Plug-in electric vehicle.
  • Natural gas-powered vehicle.
  • Propane-powered vehicle.
  • Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

To qualify, your AFV must be new (fewer than 500 miles on its odometer), and cannot be a leased vehicle. You have up to 6 months after the date of purchase to apply for the rebate. Download the instruction manual (program guidance document) for full details and application form, call the AFV Rebate Program at (866) 294-3854, or check out the Program online.

Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program (AFIG)

Pennsylvania school districts, municipal authorities, political subdivisions, incorporated non-profits, corporations, and limited liability companies (or partnerships) might be eligible for an Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) to:

  • Purchase or convert a natural gas vehicle that weighs 26,000 pounds or less.
  • Convert or purchase an electric, propane, or some other AFV (of any size).

You must submit your application online by Friday, May 30, 2014. For more info, download the Guidance Document, and check out the AFIG Program page online.

You can also contact the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Pollution Prevention & Energy Assistance Office at (717) 783-0542.

Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Grants

Eligible municipal and commercial fleets can apply for assistance through the Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. These grants are designed to help purchase or convert dedicated or bi-fuel natural gas vehicles.

“Eligible" means:

  • Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of at least 14,000 pounds.
  • Commonwealth or municipal authorities.
  • Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
  • Non-profit entities.
  • For-profit companies.
  • Local transportation organizations.
  • State-owned or related universities.

These grants are capped at 50% of the purchase or conversion cost, for up to $25,000 per vehicle, and may not be used for:

  • Project development.
  • Any fueling infrastructure, including fueling stations.

For more information, visit the Natural Gas Vehicle Program website and refer to Pennsylvania Statutes Title 58, Chapter 27, Sections 2701-2704.

Small Business Advantage Grant Program

Thanks to the Small Business Advantage Grant Program, small businesses—such as trucking companies and independent trucks—can apply for grants that match 50% of up to $9,500 so they can obtain equipment that's energy efficient or helps prevent pollution.

Learn more at the Small Business Advantage Grant Program website.

Alternative Fuel Development and Deployment Grants

The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) provides grants of up to $1,000,000 for projects that involve:

  • Fuel cells.
  • Biomass.
  • Clean or alternative fuels for transportation.

This funding may be used for:

  • Purchasing equipment.
  • Construction costs.
  • Hiring/paying contractors.
  • Any engineering design costs related to construction and installation.

NOTE: Generally, the PEDA grants are available for alternative energy projects and related research, such as research to the deployment or manufacturing of the projects, but research alone is not eligible for funding.

Learn more at the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) website.

Small Business Pollution Prevention Account Loan Program (PPAA)

Pennsylvania's small businesses looking to undertake projects designed to reduce waste, pollution, and energy might be able to take advantage of low-interest rate loans via the state's Small Business Pollution Prevention Account Loan Program (PPAA).

Typically:

  • Businesses can get loans for 75% of the total project costs, if eligible.
  • $100,000 is the maximum loan amount within a 12-month period.
  • Loans have a 2% fixed rate and a maximum 10-year term.

For more information, visit the state's Small Business Pollution Prevention Assistance Account Loan Program (PPAA) website.

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

Pennsylvania 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 PA Emissions Testing Station

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