Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in New Mexico
New Mexico enlists a few driver-related laws specific to protecting the environment. These green vehicle laws include emissions testing requirements (and emissions test exemptions for certain electric vehicles and hybrids), neighborhood electric car driving restrictions, fuel mandates, and more. Continue reading for full details on New Mexico's eco-friendly driver regulations.
New Mexico Emissions Testing for Fuel-Efficient Cars
New Mexico only tests emissions in Bernalillo County* as a requirement of vehicle registration. Specifically, if your vehicle is older than 4 years (but model-year 1983 and newer) with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 lbs or less, it must pass an emissions test:
- Every 2 years.
- When changing ownership.
*If you drive your vehicle in (or into) Bernalillo County—or have it present in the county for 60 days or more per year while registered outside of county or state lines—you must abide by NM emissions requirements. See a list of Bernalillo County ZIP codes where emissions testing is mandatory.
If your vehicle does not qualify under the exemptions for green vehicles listed in the next section, scroll down to the bottom of this page to find a nearby emissions testing center using our locator widget.
NM Emissions Test Exemptions
NM exempts the following from having to obtain an air care certificate:
- Dedicated electric vehicles (EV).
- Certain electric hybrid vehicles*.
- New vehicles (for 4 years following initial vehicle registration from the manufacturer's certificate of origin date).
*Check the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division Emissions Requirements page for details on previously exempted electric hybrid vehicles.
In addition to emissions test exemptions, New Mexico offers a few more green driver incentives.
Neighborhood Electric Car Requirements and Restrictions
New Mexico has specific equipment and operating equipment and driving restrictions for neighborhood electric cars. Read on for details.
What is a Neighborhood Electric Car
New Mexico defines a neighborhood electric car as:
- A electric motor vehicle with 4 wheels.
- Having a maximum speed greater than 20 MPH but not less than 25 MPH.
- Compliant with the safety standards listed under Title 49 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, section 571.500.
Equipment and Driving Requirements
New Mexico requires neighborhood electric cars to be equipped with head lamps, stop lamps, front and rear turn signal lamps, tail lamps, reflex reflectors, a parking brake, at least one interior and one exterior rear view mirror, a windshield, windshield wipers, a speedometer, an odometer, braking for each wheel, seat belts, and a vehicle identification number (VIN).
Plus, to legally drive it on NM's public roads, it must be:
- Registered (no emissions test* required).
- In compliance with the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act (for most drivers, this means being insured).
- Operated by a driver with a valid driver's license.
*The emissions test exemption is just one perk of driving an eco-friendly vehicle. For more, check out our page on green driver incentives.
After meeting the above requirements, neighborhood electric vehicles are permitted on New Mexico's roads that have a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less. There is one exception: Crossing an intersecting road that bears a speed limit greater than 35 mph.
Keep in mind that local authorities and departments of transportation can prohibit the use of neighborhood electric cars on roads within their jurisdiction. Consult your Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) branch to confirm local laws.
New Mexico Biodiesel Mandate
New Mexico's quality standards for diesel fuel sold to consumers require the fuel to contain 5% biodiesel (B5) when used to power motor vehicles on NM's streets and highways. However, in recent months, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture consulted with the secretary of the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department, coming to the decision to temporarily suspend this mandate.
As a consumer, it's important to keep pace and know whether your biodiesel meets the state standards. Check in with NM's Standards and Consumer Services division for the latest. You can also refer to New Mexico Statutes 57-19-28 and 57-19-29.
Keep Up with Current New Mexico Green Vehicle Laws
Keep in mind that the following green vehicle laws and eco-friendly driver incentives might change as NM focuses even more on environmental issues. Also check in with your local New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division branch and the Alternative Fuels Data Center for the latest.
Find a Nearby New Mexico Emissions Testing Station
Locate the closest NM smog and emissions testing station with the widget below: