Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in Indiana
Indiana sets numerous vehicle-related laws to protect the environment. Whether you drive a gas guzzler or an electric car, alternative fuel vehicle, hybrid or some other fuel-efficient automobile, keep pace with the latest Earth-focused legislation.
Please note, as the state increases focus on environmental matters, the laws might also shift—unlike IN's general traffic laws which rarely change. Also consult your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) branch and the Alternative Fuels Data Center for the latest. If you want to find out more on money-saving green driver incentives, we can also lead you in the right direction.
Indiana Vehicle Registration and Emissions Test Requirements
Although most Indiana residents must register their vehicles with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), not every vehicle requires an emissions test. The State exempts the following vehicles from emissions testing:
- Electric vehicles (EV).
- Diesel-powered vehicles.
- Newer vehicles (4 newest model years).
Consult the Clean Air Car Check site to get the full scoop on emissions test exemptions.
NOTE: If you live in Lake and Porter Counties and your vehicle is not electric, diesel, or newer than four years old, you'll likely have to make a trip to a smog check station the next time you must renew your vehicle registration. For full details on this requirement, consult our page on IN smog and emissions checks.
Special Fuel Tax for Indiana Alternative Fuel Vehicles
Those who operate commercial motor vehicles on Indiana’s public highways are subject to a special fuel tax. For the purposes of this tax, the State defines special fuel as all combustible gases and liquids that are either:
- Fit to power an internal combustion engine.
- Used not for running the motor vehicle, but instead for heating, industrial, or farm purposes.
The definitions, exemptions, and details are extensive. Refer to Indiana Code (Title 6, Article 6, Chapter 2,5) for specifics.
Required Decal for IN Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV)
Indiana-registered vehicles that run on alternative fuels must display an alternative fuel decal in order to receive liquefied petroleum gas or propane. This entails applying for the decal and paying an annual fee (based on vehicle type and weight) that ranges from $100 to $500.
If you are an out-of-state traveler simply passing through Indiana, you don’t have to obtain the decal. But you do have to purchase a temporary permit from a licensed propane dealer who sells alternative fuels. Each temporary permit is good for 72 hours from purchase, and costs $5.50.
Download the Alternative Fuel Decal Application for full details on rates, exemptions, who needs a decal (including residents and out-of-towners), and contact info if you have questions.
Requirements for Indiana Low-Speed Vehicles
Some electric vehicles fall under Indiana’s definition of a low-speed vehicle. As such, they may not be driven on IN highways with a posted speed limit greater than 35 miles per hour (mph). By definition, a low-speed electric vehicle:
- Has four wheels.
- Can reach a speed of up to 35 mph.
- Complies with safety standards laid out in the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 49, Section 571.000).
This does not include golf carts and off-road vehicles. To get the full definition, refer to Indiana Code 9-13-2-94.5. For more on the road restrictions for low-speed electrically powered vehicles refer to Indiana Code 9-21-5-8.5.
Vehicle Idling Policy for Schools
Indiana schools must write a policy on dealing with idling vehicles on school grounds. Not until the policy models the state department’s manual of best practices for managing IAQ in schools, may the school implement and enforce it. For specifics, refer to Indiana Administrative Code (Title 410, Article 33-4-3).