Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in Maine
Maine has a number of laws specific to eco-friendly vehicles and driving. Stay up to date on ME’s green vehicle regulations with the content below—whether you drive an electric car (EV), plug-in hybrid (PEV), alternative fuel vehicle (AFV), or any other fuel-efficient car.
Eco-friendly laws and regulations are ever-evolving. Always check the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) branch office, the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC), and all listed statutes for the most up-to-date information. For general traffic laws, check out our page covering Maine vehicle code.
Maine Green Vehicle Registration and Emissions Testing
Most of Maine does not test smog and emissions as a requirement of ME vehicle registration. But if you live (and register your car) in Cumberland County, your gasoline-powered vehicle must pass an enhanced inspection that does run a gas cap pressure test and/or an On-Board Diagnostic test. However, fully electric vehicles might be exempt. Inquire with either your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) branch office or Maine's Motor Vehicle Inspection Program at (207) 624-8939 to learn more on inspection exemptions.
Auto Insurance Discount Provision for Clean Fuel Vehicles
Maine auto insurance providers may discount your car insurance if you drive a clean fuel vehicle. To protect consumers, Maine prohibits these car insurance companies to make up for the credit or refund by hiking the insurance premiums on other vehicles. For more on green vehicle auto insurance discounts, visit our page titled Maine Green Driver Incentives. To shop around for an auto insurance company that rewards eco-friendly driving, compare insurance providers online.
Operating Low-Speed Vehicles on Maine Roadways
Certain eco-friendly and alternative fuel vehicles qualify as low-speed vehicles. As such, they must:
- Maintain valid Maine vehicle registration.
- Display a special license plate.
- Fulfill state and federal requirements for safety equipment.
Additionally, to operate a low-speed vehicle as a Maine resident, you must hold a valid ME Class A, B, or C driver's license.
ME Low-Speed Vehicle Roadway Restrictions
The State prohibits motorists from operating low-speed vehicles on Maine streets with a posted speed limit greater than 35 miles per hour (mph). However, it can cross through an intersection of a road that has a posted speed limit of greater than 35 mph.
Keep in mind, the above restrictions are not hard and fast. For example, if a municipality considers the operation of a low-speed vehicle as a threat to public safety on certain roadways, it can limit your roadway access.
Idle Reduction Requirement for Maine 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 Maine.
In general, motorists who own or operate a gasoline-powered vehicle or commercial motor vehicle may not leave it idling for more than five minutes per hour. Specifically, Maine’s idling reduction requirement applies to:
- Gasoline-powered motor vehicles (excluding private passenger vehicles).
- Commercial motor vehicles.
- Loading and unloading areas for commercial vehicles.
For specifics on commercial vehicle and load/unloading locations, penalties, and to access a list of numerous exemptions to the motor vehicle idling requirement, consult Maine Revised Statutes Title 38 (Section 585-L).
Ethanol-Blended Gasoline Sales Restriction
The State prohibits the offer, sale, or distribution of ethanol-blended gasoline that either:
- Contains more than 10% ethanol (E10).
- Uses corn-based ethanol as an additive.
According to the AFDC, Maine must be joined by two additional New England states before the law goes into effect. For more information, check House Bills 0097 as well as Maine Revised Statutes Title 38, Section 585M and Title 10, Section 1457-B.