Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in Hawaii

Although Hawaii recognizes the importance and impact of green driving, it hasn't set many laws specific to eco-friendly vehicles such as hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles. In fact, most of what you'll find below pertains to electric vehicles and EV charger use.

However, eco-friendly legislation is always evolving, unlike HI's general traffic laws which rarely change by a lot. Bookmark this page to stay up-to-date, but always check with your county's registration office and the green driving laws listed with the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC). If you want to learn more on money-saving perks for going green, check our page on state incentives.

Hawaii Vehicle Safety Inspection Requirement

At this time, Hawaii does not test emissions as a requirement of first-time vehicle registration or registration renewal. However, it might need to pass a safety inspection if its not a newer model vehicle. Whether you drive a hybrid, electric car, alternative fuel vehicle, or some other fuel-efficient car, be sure you know HI vehicle registration requirements. Consult your local motor vehicle agency branch for specifics.

Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) Road Restrictions

Hawaii defines a neighborhood electric vehicle as a vehicle that:

  • Has four wheels.
  • Runs on electricity via a self-propelled motor.
  • Produces no emissions.
  • Bears a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 2,500 lbs.
  • Meets federal safety equipment requirements (detailed in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Section 571.500).

If your vehicle qualifies as a NEV, be aware you may not drive it faster than 25 MPH. Plus, you may not take it on Hawaii roadways with a posted speed limit greater than 35 MPH. Lastly, your NEV must display a notice of operational restrictions. This should either be permanently affixed or painted on a location you can clearly see as the driver. For details, refer to the Hawaii Revised Statutes 286-2, 286-41, and 291C-134.

Requirements for At-Home Electric Vehicle Charging

Installing and using an electric vehicle charger where you reside comes with a couple of restrictions—specifically if you own within a multi-family residential dwelling or townhome community. For starters, you may only place electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) on or near a parking stall if:

  • Your EVSE meets applicable standards.
  • You have registered the EVSE with the proper private entities* within 30 days of installing it.
  • The private entity has consented to installing the EVSE in a common area (if applicable).

*The State includes the following in its definition of private entity: cooperatives and homeowner, community, or condominium associations.

Of course, if the private entity restricts owners from placing and using chargers on the property, you'll have to comply. For more on this consult your community association and the Alternative Fuels Data Center.

Hawaii Idling Restrictions

Not only does idling waste a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, it's illegal in Hawaii. Your vehicle may not idle in the following areas:

  • Loading zones.
  • Parking and service areas.
  • Route terminals.
  • Other off-street areas.

Exceptions include when:

  • Your engine is being serviced or repaired.
  • You're operating auxiliary equipment such as cranes and bulk carriers (as long as no smoke is emitting from the vehicle).
  • You're unloading or loading passengers. You can't exceed 3 minutes.
  • You're warming up or cooling down the vehicle. You can't exceed 3 minutes.

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