Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in Delaware

Green vehicle laws benefit all Delaware residents, even though some only apply to drivers of plug-in electric cars, hybrids, or other types of fuel-efficient vehicles. Stay on this page for specifics on these regulations.

Two additional resources for keeping pace with the latest green vehicle regulations include your local Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) office and the Alternative Fuels Data Center. If it's general traffic laws you're looking for, consult the Delaware Driver Manual or the DE vehicle code.

DE makes an effort to encourage residents to go green. For more eco-friendly driver info, check out money-saving perks on our Delaware Green Driver Incentives page.

Delaware Green Vehicle Registration and Emissions

Whether you drive a fuel-efficient hybrid or a gas-guzzling family van, you must maintain valid Delaware vehicle registration to drive on public roadways. However, the Division of Motor Vehicle exempts certain vehicles, such as diesel-fueled cars, from the emissions test requirement for DE vehicle registration and registration renewal. Consult our DE Green Driver Incentives page and Delaware Smog and Emissions Testing page for more.

In order to register your vehicle in Delaware, it must meet the California vehicle emissions standards for low emissions. The next section covers this in greater detail.

Low-Emission Requirements for DE Vehicles

In order to register certain vehicles through the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicle, they must meet California vehicle emissions and compliance requirements. These include:

  • Heavy-duty vehicles, model year 2007 and later.
  • Light-duty vehicles, model year 2014 and later.*
  • Medium-duty vehicles, model year 2014*

Heavy-duty vehicles (model year 2007 and later) sold or leased in Delaware must also meet CA emissions and compliance requirements. For specifics, consult Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations. Or refer to the state site for more on the Delaware Low Emission Vehicle Program.

*Certain exceptions exist when it comes to vehicles with a 2014 model year (and later). For example, different sales requirements apply to zero-emission vehicles in the light- and medium-duty class. For more on these exceptions for MY 2014 and later vehicles, refer to the Delaware Administrative Code, Title 7, Sections 1140 and 1143.

Access to Delaware Roadway Rules for Low-Speed Vehicles

What is a Low-Speed Vehicle?

Delaware defines a low-speed vehicle as a four-wheeled motor vehicle (other than a truck) that:

  • Bears a gross vehicle weight rating that is less than 2,500 pounds,
  • And can travel at least 20 miles per hour (mph) but not greater than 25 mph on a paved surface.

Driving Restrictions for Low-Speed Vehicle

Delaware does not allow drivers to operate low-speed vehicles on DE roads that have a posted speed limit greater than 35 mph. However, you may cross a highway with a posted speed limit greater than 35 mph.

Also be sure your DE low-speed vehicle:

DE Idle Reduction Requirement

It’s against the law to idle a stationary on-road, heavy-duty motor vehicle (8,500 pounds GVWR or greater) for more than three consecutive minutes. This idle reduction requirement applies to heavy-duty vehicles such as:

  • Long-haul trucks.
  • Delivery trucks.
  • Transit buses.
  • School buses.

Exemptions include emergency fire, rescue, and lifesaving vehicles. For more on operating situations that might also exempt your vehicle and full details on this idle reduction requirement, refer to Regulation #1145: Excessive Idling of Heavy Duty Vehicles (Delaware Department of Natural resources and Environmental Control Regulation).

Failure to abide by this requirement could land you a penalty of up to $500 per offense.

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