Green Driver State Incentives in Washington
Washington entices locals to go green with numerous money-saving green driver incentives. These eco-friendly perks include emissions test exemptions for electric vehicles, hybrids, and other fuel-efficient vehicles, state and federal tax incentives, auto insurance discounts, and more.
These incentives and related green vehicle laws are subject to change. Refer to the content below, your local Washington Department of Licensing branch , and the government's Alternative Fuels Data Center to keep pace with the latest.
Washington exempts the following eco-friendly vehicles from emissions testing:
- Hybrids* such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight.
- Electric vehicles.
- Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.
- Propane-powered vehicles.
- Diesel vehicles weighing under 6,001 lbs.
- Diesel vehicles model-year 2007 and newer (no weight limit).
*WA only exempts hybrid vehicles (powered by a propulsion unit that runs both by electricity and gas) that have a city driving miles-per-gallon rating of 50 mpg or more (as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)).
For a full list of vehicles exempt from emissions test (in addition to the exemptions for alternative fuel vehicles listed above), refer to the Revised Code of Washington 46.16A.060. For more on emissions test requirements, consult our pages on green vehicle laws, WA smog checks, and the Washington Vehicle Emission Check Program.
Keep in mind that Washington only requires emissions tests in parts of the following counties every 2 years:
- Clark County.
- King County.
- Pierce County.
- Snohomish County.
- Spokane County.
Refer to the list of ZIP codes requiring emissions checks to determine if your vehicle must undergo an emissions test as a condition of WA vehicle registration. If so, find the nearest test station using our locator widget at the bottom of this page.
You might be eligible for an auto insurance discount if your Washington car insurance company rewards green driving habits and/or driving a fuel-efficient vehicle. Consult your auto insurance provider 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.
Auto 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 Washington auto insurance carrier doesn't offer such insurance rate discounts, find one that does. Compare auto insurance rates online and save some green for going green.
Washington taxpayers can save even more with tax incentives offered by the State and federal government. Read on for specifics.
New and Used Clean Alternative Fuel Vehicle Tax Exemptions
Washington exempts the following new and used-and-converted* vehicles that run on clean alternative fuels from state motor vehicle sales use taxes:
- Passenger cars.
- Light-duty trucks.
- Medium-duty passenger vehicles.
For the purpose of these tax exemptions, clean alternative fuel means electricity, hydrogen, natural gas, or propane when used to power a motor vehicle that both:
- Meet California motor vehicle emissions standards (Title 13 of the CA Code of Regulations).
- Comply with Washington Department of Ecology rules.
*Qualifying used vehicles must be converted after their initial purchase—according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifications—to run exclusively on a clean alternative fuel. This include vehicles that:
- Are a part of a fleet owned (minimum) 5 vehicles. Owned by the same person.
- Have fewer than 30,000 miles (as determined by an odometer reading).
- Are fewer than 2 model years old (according to their original date of manufacture).
- Are being sold for the first time post-modification.
Washington Natural Gas Tax Exemptions
Washington exempts compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the following taxes:
- Use tax (effective July 1, 2015).
- State and local sales tax (effective until July 1, 2015).
- Public utility tax (effective July 1, 2015).
Also note that natural gas distribution businesses can take advantage of a tax exemption for machinery and equipment used to produce CNG and LNG for transportation fuel.
Federal Tax Credits for Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Owners
Federal tax credits offer new fuel-efficient car buyers yet another reason to switch to eco-friendly vehicles. You might qualify for tax credits offered by the federal government if you purchase:
- Electric cars (EV).
- Plug-in hybrids (PHEV).
- Alternative fuel vehicles (AFV).
To find out if you're eligible, check out fueleconomy.gov.
Washington grants a weight exemption for vehicles equipped with idle reduction technology. Specifically, if this equipment is designed to cut back on fuel usage and engine-idling emissions, Washington exempts up to 400 pounds in total gross, axle, tandem, or bridge formula weight.
To take advantage of the weight exemption, you (as the operator) must be able to prove:
- The weight of your idle reduction technology (by written certification),
- That your idle reduction technology is fully functional at all times (either by demonstration or certification).
For further details, refer to Washington Administrative Code (468-38-073).
Locate the closest WA smog and emissions testing station with the widget below: