Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in Iowa

Iowa maintains a couple of laws specific to eco-friendly drivers and green vehicles. Whether you drive a plug-in electric car, a hybrid, or an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV)—or even if you're in the market to buy a fuel-efficient vehicle—keep up with the latest legislation.

The IA regulations enacted to help protect the environment might quickly evolve, unlike the traffic laws that rarely change. Stay abreast by also touching base with your local Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) branch and the Alternative Fuels Data Center. For more on ways to save time and money as an Earth-conscious resident, check out our page on green driver incentives.

Iowa Green Vehicle Registration and Emissions Testing

Regarding Iowa vehicle registration and registration renewal, the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) does not offer perks for driving a fuel-efficient vehicle. Just be sure you maintain valid IA registration. And although the State doesn’t require emissions testing, it’s useful to know how to reduce the effects of smog.

Iowa Registration for Alternative Fuel Vehicle Conversion

You must notify your Iowa county treasurer* within 30 days of modifying your vehicle to use either:

  • A different type of fuel.
  • More than one type of fuel.

*Visit the county treasurer of the same county in which you registered your vehicle. The office will then notify the Iowa Department of Revenue of the new type of fuel (or alternative fuel types), and give applicable residents a special fuel identification sticker. For more on this decal, read the following section. For more on registering an alternative fuel vehicle conversion, refer to section 321.41 of the Iowa Code.

Special Fuel User Identification Stickers

In addition to registering an alternative fuel vehicle conversion, you might need to obtain a special decal. The county treasurer issues special fuel user identification stickers to those whose vehicles use a special fuel. Iowa Code (section 452A.2) more specifically defines which vehicles fall under this category. You must display the sticker either:

  • On the cover of your vehicle’s fuel inlet.
  • On the vehicle’s outside panel within three inches of the fuel inlet.

Operating Low-Speed Vehicles on IA Roadways

Certain eco-friendly and alternative fuel vehicles qualify as low-speed vehicles. This classification also comes with a couple of rules.

For starters, the State prohibits motorists from operating a low-speed vehicle on Iowa streets that have a posted speed limit greater than 35 miles per hour (mph). However, you still can cross a street that has a speed limit above 35 mph. For more on this, consult Iowa Code 321.381A.

Auto Insurance Requirements for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

All Iowa-registered vehicles that use our state's public roadways must maintain auto insurance coverage in line with IA's minimum car insurance requirements. Fortunately, many insurance companies reward eco-friendly driving and green vehicles with sizable insurance rate discounts. For example, some insurance providers offer a low-mileage discount or grant electric car buyers a break on their rates. Check out our page in green driver incentives for details.

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