Green Driver State Incentives in North Carolina

North Carolina's green-minded drivers can save time and money through numerous eco-friendly driving incentives. The following perks include electric car emissions test exemptions, high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane access, federal tax incentives, auto insurance discounts, and more.

NC Emissions Test Exemptions for Electric Cars

North Carolina exempts electric vehicles from the on-board diagnostic (OBD) emissions test. However, they must undergo an annual safety inspection as a requirement of NC vehicle registration.

Alternative fuel vehicles capable of running on gasoline—such as hybrid cars—must undergo an emissions test in addition to the safety inspection. For more on this, refer to our page on inspections and emissions checks.

If your vehicle requires an emissions check, find the nearest inspection station with our locator widget at the bottom of this page.

High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane Access for Alternative Fuel Vehicles

North Carolina permits the following alternative fuel vehicles to use the state's high occupancy vehicle lanes, regardless of the number of passengers they're transporting.

  • Plug-in electric vehicles.
  • Dedicated natural gas vehicles.
  • Fuel-cell electric vehicles.

This allowance comes with one condition: all of the above-mentioned vehicles must be capable of traveling the posted speed limit while driving in the HOV lane. For more on how NC defines dedicated natural gas vehicles and plug-in or fuel-cell EVs, or for details regarding these rush-hour traffic lanes, consult the North Carolina General Statutes 20-4.01 and 20-146.2.

Auto Insurance Discounts for Eco-Friendly Driving and Green Vehicles

Going green might land you a car insurance discount, depending on your North Carolina auto insurance provider. Whether you drive a fuel-efficient vehicle or barely at all, inquire with your insurance company about potential green vehicle discounts such as:

  • Hybrid auto discounts.
  • Alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) discounts.
  • Economy car discounts.
  • Low-mileage discounts.
  • Pay-as-you-drive discounts.

Your circumstances and who your provider is can cause discounts to vary. With some companies you could receive up to a 10% discount on car insurance for owning or leasing a hybrid car.

If your current NC auto insurance carrier doesn't reward eco-friendly driving, find one that does. Compare auto insurance rates online until you find the company that offers quality car coverage, reliable customer service, and competitive rates.

North Carolina Diesel Emission Reduction Grants and Rebates

North Carolina's Division of Air Quality (DAQ) offers funding to private and public sector entities and individuals whose projects reduce diesel emissions. However, at this time, such grants are unavailable. The DAQ suggests referring back to its page on Diesel Emission Reduction Grants in the fall of 2014.

The division also has an Idle Reduction Devices Rebate Program. Typically, the DAQ offers rebates to NC-based individuals and companies of up to $2,500 for the purchase and installation of an auxiliary power unit (APU) or other idle-reduction device on a sleeper berth truck. However, as with with the grant above, funds have already been exhausted. Consider keeping the program page on your radar for future purchases, or inquire periodically with the DAQ .

Federal Tax Credits for Owners of Fuel-Efficient Cars

As a way of enticing taxpayers to consider buying new alternative energy vehicles—such as hybrids and electric cars—and lowering their carbon footprint, the government offers a number of federal tax credits. Eligible fuel-efficient vehicles include:

  • Electric cars (EV).
  • Hybrids.
  • Plug-in hybrids (PEV).
  • Diesels.
  • Alternative fuel vehicles (AFV).

For additional information on federal tax credits, jump over to

If you need additional help taking advantage of federal tax incentives, consider contacting a professional tax advisor or your local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.

Keep Up with Current North Carolina Green Driver Incentives

These eco-friendly driver incentives and related green-vehicle laws are subject to change. Keep tabs on this page as well as consult your local North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) branch and the Alternative Fuels Data Center.

Find a Nearby North Carolina Emissions Testing Station

Locate the closest NC smog and emissions testing station with the widget below:

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