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Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in West Virginia

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West Virginia has a few vehicle-related laws to protect the environment. Whether you drive a gas-powered vehicle or a fuel-efficient car that runs on alternative fuel—such as an electric car or a hybrid—stay on top of the most recent green vehicle legislation. Please note, as the state increases focus on environmental matters, the laws might also shift. Also consult your local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) branch and the Alternative Fuels Data Center for the latest.

Although the green vehicle laws below might pertain to certain drivers, all motorists using West Virginia public roads must abide WV traffic laws. For additional info specific to eco-friendly drivers, check out our page on money-saving green driver incentives.

West Virginia Vehicle Registration and Emissions Test Requirements

At this time, the West Virginia DMV does not require emissions testing for first-time vehicle registration or registration renewal. But you can still learn more on keeping your carbon footprint to a minimum via our Smog & Emissions Checks page.

NOTE: Most vehicles—regardless of whether they run on gasoline or alternative fuels—require an annual safety inspection.

WV Restrictions on Idling a Vehicle

According to fueleconomy.gov, idling can burn through a quarter to a half-gallon of gas per hour. Not only is this bad for your pocketbook and the environment, it's also illegal in West Virginia.

As a driver or vehicle owner, you may not idle* the following for more than 15 minutes in any continuous 60-minute period:

  • A diesel-powered motor vehicle that is engaged in commerce and has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds.
  • A vehicle at the location where it loads, unloads, or parks.

*WV defines idling as running a motor vehicle's main propulsion engine while keeping the vehicle stationary. For more on idling restrictions and exceptions, consult the West Virginia Code.

Requirements for West Virginia Low-Speed Vehicles

Some fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles qualify as low-speed vehicles. As such, the following rules apply:

  • You can only operate low-speed vehicles on private and public roads (within the corporate limits of a municipality) that have a posted speed limit of less than 25 miles per hour (mph).
  • Your low-speed vehicle must meet the requirements of Title 49 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, section 571.500.
  • You must certify under penalty of false swearing that you low-speed vehicle's lights, brakes, tires, and seat belts are in good working condition when you register it for the first time and renew its registration through the DMV. This is because low-speed vehicles do not require an annual safety inspection like most vehicles.
  • You must hold a valid driver’s license to operate your vehicle. Instruction permits do not count.

NOTE: The DMV does not count (and therefore, will not register or title) a homemade low-speed vehicle or a retrofitted golf cart as low-speed vehicles.

For full details, refer to the West Virginia Code (17A- 3-2).

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