Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in Illinois

Green driving laws abound in Illinois. Keep pace with the latest eco-friendly driver regulations, whether you get around in a hybrid, electric car (EV), alternative fuel vehicle (AFV), or any other fuel-efficient vehicle. Also note that as Illinois focuses even more on environmental matters, laws might also evolve—unlike IL's general traffic laws which rarely change. Be sure to also consult your local branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles (SOS) and the Alternative Fuels Data Center to stay up to date.

For more on ways to save time and money as an eco-conscious resident, check out Illinois green driver incentives.

Illinois Vehicle Registration and Emissions Testing

When it comes to first-time vehicle registration and registration renewal, some Illinois vehicles require an emissions test. Note that some ZIP codes are exempt as are diesel-powered and electric vehicles. For more on emissions test exemptions, see our pages on green driver incentives and smog and emissions checks.

Also note that the IL (SOS) offers a registration fee discount for electric vehicles with a special EV license plate. Refer to our incentives page for details.

Sign/Decal Requirement for Alterative Fuel Vehicles (AFV)

Motor vehicles that run on the following alternative fuels must display an identifying sign or decal*:

  • Liquefied petroleum gas.
  • Compressed natural gas.

*How you mark your alternative fuel vehicle must coincide with guidelines set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). For specifics on these standards, consult the Illinois Compiled Statues (625, 5/12-704.3).

Note that your label must be legible and in good condition at all times. If your sign or decal becomes hard to quickly read, replace it immediately.

Operating Low-Speed Vehicles on Illinois Roadways

Certain eco-friendly and alternative fuel vehicles qualify as low-speed vehicles in Illinois. By definition, low-speed vehicles have four-wheels, can maintain speeds faster than 20 miles per hour (mph) but not more than 25 mph, and comply with the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 49, section 571.500). As such, they may:

  • Be driven on streets with a posted speed limit of 35 miler per hour (mph) or less.
  • Cross intersections of roads with a posted speed limit of 45 mph or less.
  • Cross intersections of roads with a posted speed limit greater than 45 mph as long as the intersections use a traffic light or four-way stop sign to control traffic.

The State might prohibit low-speed vehicles from certain roads that have a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less for public safety reasons. For full details on local laws pertaining to low-speed vehicles, consult the Illinois Compiled Statutes 625 5/1-140.7 and 5/11-1426.2.

Idle Reduction Requirement for IL Motorists

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 certain parts of Illinois.

If you drive a diesel-powered motor vehicle in the following areas, Illinois prohibits you from allowing (or causing) your vehicle to idle a total of 10 minutes per hour. That is, when your vehicle is not moving.

  • Cook County.
  • DuPage County.
  • Lake County.
  • Kane County.
  • McHenry County.
  • Will County.
  • Madison County.
  • St. Clair County.
  • Monroe County.
  • Aux Sable Township (in Grundy County).
  • Goose Lake Township (in Grundy County).
  • Oswego Township (in Kendall County)

Numerous exceptions to this idle reduction law exist. For full details, check out Illinois Compiled Statutes 625 (5/11-1429).

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