Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in Idaho
Some Idaho laws pertain solely to green-minded drivers and those with eco-friendly vehicles such as electric cars, hybrids, and alternative fuel vehicles. Such regulations enacted to protect the environment are always evolving, unlike ID's general traffic laws which rarely change by much. Keep up with the latest by also referencing the Alternative Fuels Data Center and consulting the Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
For ways on saving time and money as an environmentally conscious driver, check out our page titled Idaho Green Driver Incentives.
Idaho Vehicle Registration and Emissions Testing
Regardless of the vehicle you drive, as an Idaho resident you must maintain valid vehicle registration to operate vehicles on ID roadways. As part of this requirement, most vehicles must also pass an emissions test. However, if you drive one of the following, the ID DMV exempts the emissions test requirement:
- Electric vehicles.
- Newer model vehicles (five years from model year and newer).
For more on exemptions from state motor vehicle inspections and maintenance programs, consult our ID Smog and Emissions Checks page, green driver incentives, the Idaho Vehicle Inspection Program’s FAQs page, and Idaho Statutes (Title 39-116B).
ID Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) Requirements and Restrictions
If your vehicle qualifies as a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV), a few requirements apply. For starters, you must have a valid driver's license to operate your NEV in Idaho. And, your NEV must be properly:
Idaho Road Restrictions for NEVs
NEVs come with a few road restrictions. For example, you may not take a neighborhood electric vehicle on any Idaho highways with a posted speed limit greater than 35 miles per hour (mph); neither can you cross a highway in your NEV that has a posted speed limit greater than 45 mph. For more specific information about NEV road restrictions, refer to Idaho Statutes 49-663.
What is a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle
Idaho defines an NEV as a motor vehicle that:
- Has four wheels.
- Is self-propelled.
- Is powered by electricity.
- Produces no emissions.
- Falls in line with the low-speed vehicle definition and requirements detailed in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Section 571.500.
Idaho Special Fuels Taxes and Annual Fees
If your vehicle runs on certain alternative fuels (see the list below), you must pay either an additional per-gallon tax or an annual fee when buying your special fuel.
Excise tax—$0.25 per gallon.
Annual fee—Ranging from $60 to $208 (depending on gross vehicle weight rating).
Refer to Idaho’s breakdown of annual fees by GVWR. If you decide to pay the annual fee (versus the per-gallon tax), you must also obtain a permit, then display the decal that comes with it on your vehicle as proof you paid the annual fee.
What Qualifies as a Special Fuel
Idaho defines special fuels as:
- All fuel suitable to power a diesel engine.
- Compressed or liquefied gas that is a byproduct of petroleum refining or the making of natural gas, such as propane.
- Natural gas (liquid or gas) used to fuel a motor vehicle.
- Hydrogen used to fuel a motor vehicle.
Refer to Idaho Statutes (Title 63, Chapter 24, Section 63-2401) for the full definition.
Idaho Auto Insurance Requirements
Regardless of the kind of vehicle you drive, you must make sure it meets Idaho's minimum car insurance requirements. Note that some auto insurance providers offer discounts to green drivers. Sometimes these discounts relate to the vehicles themselves--such as driving a hybrid or electric vehicle--and other times they relate to green driving habits--such as low mileage driving.
Check with your current provider for information about such discounts; if they're not available, consider shopping around for providers who do offer money-saving perks for going green.