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Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in South Carolina

South Carolina has numerous green vehicle laws established to help protect the environment. These include regulations for operating a low-speed vehicle, idling restrictions for diesel vehicles, and alternative fuel regulations.

The laws and related green driver incentives are subject to change. In addition to referencing this page, also consult your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) branch and the Alternative Fuels Data Center.

South Carolina Inspections for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

Although South Carolina does not require emissions testing for vehicle registration purposes, it does require certain vehicles—alternative fuel, electric, hybrid, and otherwise—to undergo an inspection.

Specifically, if you are applying for a South Carolina title for a vehicle that is 25 years or older, and you can’t get your hands on the previous title, you must complete Form TI-021B and also have the vehicle inspected by an SCDMV official. For more on this, refer to the State's section titled Vehicles 25 Years Or Older with No Title.

Keep in mind, only in the above circumstance must your vehicle undergo an inspection.

SC Roadway Access Laws for Low-Speed Vehicles

Low-speed vehicles (LSV) are an efficient way to get around when it comes to fuel economy. Just be sure you're familiar with LSV regulations and driving restrictions before hitting the road.

Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) Defined

South Carolina defines a low-speed vehicle as a motor vehicle that:

  • Has four wheels.
  • Can reach maximum speeds greater than 20 miles per hour (mph), but not more than 25 mph, on a paved, level surface.
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 3,000 pounds.

This definition excludes all-terrain vehicles.

Low-Speed Vehicle Driving Restrictions

South Carolina prohibits low-speed vehicles from traveling on any SC highway with a speed limit greater than 35 mph, unless crossing the intersection of another highway that has a speed limit greater than 35 mph. Plus, all LSVs must comply with the safety standards detailed in Title 49 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, section 571.500 when operated on any highway.

Also, local governments can tighten LSV operating laws as they see fit. SC counties and municipalities may also prohibit LSVs altogether from traveling on their streets or highways in the interest of public safety.

For the purposes of the above regulations, farm vehicles are not considered LSVs. Get the complete details on all road restrictions for low-speed vehicles under South Carolina Code of Laws 56-2-100.

South Carolina Commercial Diesel Vehicle Idling Restrictions

South Carolina prohibits commercial diesel vehicles from idling for more than 10 minutes during any 60-minute period. For passenger buses (designed to carry 16 or more passengers) that are heating or cooling its riders, the time allowed to idle in a 60-minute period increases to 15 minutes.

There are numerous exemptions. Some include when:

  • Stuck in traffic out of your control, rendered motionless by an official traffic-control device, or forced to stop at the direction of law enforcement.
  • Running defrosters, heaters, air conditioners, or equipment designed to refrigerate cargo (not including during rest periods).
  • Occupying a vehicle with a sleeper berth compartment designed to be heated or air conditioned.

Title 56, Chapter 35 of the South Carolina Code of Laws covers all exceptions, penalties, definitions, and more info associated with idling restrictions for commercial diesels.

SC Fuel System and Infrastructure Safety Requirements

South Carolina enlists laws to protect those handling alternative fuels such as hydrogen and propane. Specifically, if you plan on building (or renovating) a facility to store or dispense hydrogen fuel, or if you install liquefied petroleum gas systems (or manufacture, distribute, sell, store, or transport propane), certain legislation is in place to protect you (physically and legally). For more info, refer to the Alternative Fuels Data Center content covering:

  • Hydrogen fueling infrastructure permitting and safety.
  • Propane safety and liability.

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