Green Driver State Incentives in New York
New York encourages drivers to go green by offering numerous time- and money-saving perks. These green driver incentives include emissions test exemptions for electric cars and diesel-powered vehicles, high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane access for low-emission, fuel-efficient vehicles, state and federal tax incentives, Green Pass discounts for hybrid drivers, auto insurance discounts, and more. Continue reading for the full scoop.
New York Emissions Test Exemptions
New York exempts emissions testing for the following vehicles:
- Electric cars.
- New vehicles.
- Diesel-powered vehicles.
Read on to determine which requirements apply to your vehicle to maintain valid NY registration.
Keep in mind that although certain vehicles might be exempt from some (or all) emissions tests, New York requires all vehicles to undergo an annual safety inspection. The New York Vehicle Inspection Program (NYVIP2) administers both the safety inspection and emissions testing. Check our page on NY inspections page for full details.
If your vehicle does require an emissions test, find a nearby inspection center using the locator widget at the bottom of this page.
Electric-powered vehicles are exempt from both the on-board diagnostic system (OBDII) and low-enhanced emissions inspections.
NY exempts new vehicles (fewer than 2 model years old) from the OBDII emissions test. However, they still must undergo the low-enhanced emissions inspection. Check the list of OBDII-exempt vehicles to see if you're eligible to skip the former.
Diesel-powered vehicles with a maximum gross weight (MGW) exceeding 8,500 lbs. that are registered outside the Diesel Emissions Metropolitan Area (DEMA)* are exempt from annual diesel emissions inspections. However, they might still have to undergo a random roadside diesel emissions inspection. Learn more on diesel emissions requirements, exemptions, and fees through the State.
*DEMA includes New York City and Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester counties.
NY High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane Exemption (Clean Pass Program)
New York's Clean Pass Program permits qualifying low-emission, fuel-efficient vehicles to bypass heavy congestion by using the Long Island Expressway (LIE) high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. Eligible vehicles include:
- Vehicles with an EPA fuel economy rating of at least 45 MPG (miles per gallon).
- Super ultra-low emissions vehicles (in accordance with the California Air Resources Board SULEV emissions standard).
With Clean Pass stickers affixed to your energy-efficient vehicle you can travel in both LEI eastbound and westbound directions, regardless of the number of occupants in your vehicle, from Medford in the Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, to the Queens border.
Note that the program excludes commercial vehicles, even those that display Clean Pass stickers.
How to Apply for Clean Pass Stickers
Consult NY's list of eligible vehicles before applying for your free stickers with the NY DMV either:
- By phone—Call (518) 486-9876 (from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday) and choose menu option 6.
- Online—Submit an online request for Clean Pass stickers.
Once the DMV approves your application, it will mail your stickers within 10 days. For full details, visit New York's Clean Pass Program page.
Green Pass Discount for E-ZPass Hybrids
E-ZPass account holders with hybrids may receive 10% off the pass rate if eligible for the Green Pass Discount. To qualify, your hybrid vehicle must:
- Meet the California Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV)* emissions standard.
- Have a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highway fuel economy rating of at least 45 MPG (miles per gallon).
*Hybrids with model-years earlier than 2005 must meet the California Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standard.
To request the discount, follow these steps:
- Confirm your hybrid is listed among the currently eligible vehicles.
- Confirm your vehicle tag has a Thruway logo, indicating you have an established E-ZPass account with the New York State Thruway Authority.
- Make a copy of your vehicle registration.
- Request the Green Discount by letter mailed (with your proof of vehicle registration) to:
E-ZPass New York Customer Service Center
Customer Account Correspondence
P.O. Box 15187
Albany, NY 12212
The Plan Code is (GREEN). Also know that cash customers are not eligible for the discounted rate. For full details, see the Green Pass Discount Plan page.
Auto Insurance Discounts for Eco-Friendly Driving and Green Vehicles
Some New York auto insurance providers offer insurance discounts for having green driving habits and/or driving a fuel-efficient vehicle. Consult your car 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.
Auto insurance discounts will vary by provider and your circumstances. You could receive up to a 10% discount on car insurance for owning or leasing a hybrid car.
If your current NY auto insurance carrier doesn't reward eco-friendly driving, find one that does. Compare auto insurance rates online and save some green for going green.
New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program
The New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program (NYT-VIP) helps local fleet owners in the commercial truck and bus sectors switch their fleets over to alternative fuel vehicles. In addition to incentives for fleet owners, NYT-VIP also has offerings for:
- Leased vehicle operators.
- Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
- Vehicle technology vendors.
NYT-VIP offers three funds—available to vendors who sell alternative fuel vehicles and diesel emission control devices (DECDs)—on a first-come, first-served basis. After applying for the incentive, the vendors can pass on the savings to the purchaser. Once the purchaser receives the new AFV or DECD, the vendor may redeem the full voucher amount. The three funds include:
New York State Electric Vehicle Voucher Incentive Fund (NYSEV-VIF)—For Class 3 to Class 8 private and public fleet vehicles, covering 80% of incremental cost (up to $40K per vehicle).
New York City Alternative Fuel Vehicle Voucher Incentive Fund (NYCAFV-VIF)—For Class 3 to Class 8 private fleet vehicles, covering 80% of incremental cost (up to $40K per vehicle).
New York City Diesel Emission Reduction Voucher Incentive Fund (NYCDER-VIF)—For Class 3 to Class 8 private fleet vehicles, covering 80% of total technology and installation cost.
NY Idle Reduction Technology Weight Allowance
New York excludes the weight of idle reduction devices for vehicles equipped with such technology. This includes auxiliary power units (APUs) and other technology used to reduce long-duration idling.
As the operator, you can take advantage of this incentive under the following conditions. You must:
- Maintain written certification of the actual weight of the idle reduction device along with proof that it's fully functional.
- Be able to show this proof and certification to a law enforcement officer should he request it.
New York's green drivers get a tax break on alternative fuels and new eco-friendly cars. Keep reading for specifics.
Then if you have tax incentive-related questions, consider contacting a tax professional, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, or your local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center when it comes time to file.
State and Use Tax Exemption for Alternative Fuels
New York exempts the following fuels from state sales and use tax, when used exclusively to power a motor vehicle:
- Compressed natural gas (CNG).
- Natural gas converted into CNG.
Reduced Tax Rate for Biofuel
New York's cities and counties might also give tax breaks to those buying biodiesel blends. Specifically, purchasers might only have to pay a percent of the cents-per-gallon sales and compensating use tax rate.
Federal Tax Incentives for Green Vehicles
You might be eligible for a sizable tax incentive by purchasing a new fuel-efficient vehicle. Specifically, the government offers federal tax credits to owners of the following eco-friendly cars:
- Electric cars (EV).
- Plug-in hybrids (PHEV).
- Alternative fuel vehicles (AFV).
To find out if you're eligible, visit fueleconomy.gov.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Recharging Tax Credit
If you purchase and install alternative fuel vehicle refueling and electric vehicle recharging property, you can receive a tax credit.
Keep Up with Current New York Green Driver Incentives
As NY continues to ramp up its focus on environmental issues, these incentives and related vehicle laws might change. Stay up to date by referring back to this page periodically, and also checking in with your local New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) branch and the Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Find a Nearby New York Emissions Testing Station
Locate the closest NY smog and emissions testing station with the widget below: