Green Driver State Incentives in Texas

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Texas offers numerous incentives and big savings to entice residents to go green. These include emissions test exemptions for electric cars, new and used vehicle rebates for natural gas vehicles, plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging station rebates, emissions-related repair grants, alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) rebates, fuel-efficient auto insurance discounts, and more.

These green driver incentives and related laws in place to protect the environment are ever-evolving. Keep up with the latest by also consulting your local Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) branch and the Alternative Fuels Data Center.

Texas Emissions Test Exemptions for Fuel-Efficient Cars

Vehicles in 17 Texas counties must also undergo an emissions test to maintain valid TX vehicle registration. However, the following vehicles are exempt from emissions testing in emissions counties:

  • Vehicles not powered by gasoline (including electric vehicles).
  • Diesel-powered vehicles.
  • Vehicles fewer than 2 years old.

If your vehicle has the ability to run on gasoline—such as a hybrid—it must get an emissions check. Additionally, all vehicles registered in Texas must undergo an annual safety inspection, regardless of whether they are electric cars, hybrids, diesels, etc.

Learn more about the DPS Vehicle Inspection Program, inspection costs, criteria, exemptions, and more on our Texas emissions and safety checks page.

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

TX Vehicle Repair and Replacement Assistance

The AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program offers emissions-related repair vouchers (up to $600) and vehicle replacement assistance (up to $3,500) if your vehicle meets certain conditions* and is also registered in a participating county:

  • Austin—Travis and Williamson counties.
  • Dallas-Fort Worth—Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, and Tarrant counties.
  • Houston-Galveston-Brazoria—Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, and Montgomery counties.

*Check the following subsections below for program particulars, including qualifying criteria. Additionally, you must also meet specific net income requirements to be eligible. For example, a qualifying household of four people may not have a net income per year exceeding $71,550. See the full chart of maximum income amounts on the TCEQ’s program page. Keep in mind, these change annually in February.

Emissions-Related Vehicle Repair Assistance

The AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program offers up to $600 in emissions-repair assistance to eligible applicants whose vehicles meet each of the following:

  • Recently failed an emissions test (within 30 days of application submission).
  • Passed the safety portion of the 2-part DPS motor-vehicle inspection, and were able to be driven to the inspection station using its own power.
  • Been registered in a participating county for at least 12 of the 15 months preceding your application submission.

For full details on emissions-related repairs and retrofits, repair facilities, and more, refer to AirCheckTexas online or call (800) 913-3321. If eligible, learn more on how to apply for a repair voucher.

Replacement Vehicle Vouchers

The AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program offers up to $3,500 toward replacing vehicles that are 10 years and older with cleaner-running, more fuel-efficient vehicles such as:

  • Cars, SUVs, and vans model-year 2011-2014.
  • Pickup trucks model-year 2012-2014.
  • Hybrid, electric, natural gas vehicles model-year 2011-2014.

The TCEQ offers a full list of eligible federal Tier 2 Bin replacement vehicles by model-year . Not only must a replacement make this list, vehicles must also have an odometer reading of 70,000 miles or fewer, be purchased through a participating dealer, and cannot cost more than the following amounts before tax, title, and license:

  • $35,000.
  • $45,000 (hybrids, electric vehicles, natural gas vehicles, and vehicles up to 3 model-years old that meet/exceed federal Tier 2, Bin 3 or cleaner certification).

To qualify, your vehicle must either meet the criteria listed under the section above on emissions-related repair vouchers or each of the following:

  • Be at least 10 years old.
  • Powered by gasoline.
  • Registered in a participating county for at least 12 of the 15 months preceding your application submission.
  • Have passed a DPS inspection within 15 months of your application submission—safety inspection only if your vehicle is older than 24 years, or a safety and emissions inspection if your car is 24 years old or newer.

Vehicle-replacement assistance varies by the type of vehicle you purchase. For example, the program provides $3,000 for cars and trucks, and $3,500 for hybrid, electric, and natural gas vehicles—all with a model-year of three years and newer. For full details regarding eligibility requirements and how to apply for a replacement voucher, visit the TCEQ's AirCheckTexas Program online or call (800) 913-3321.

Grants and Rebates—Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) Program

The Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) Program offers incentives to entice local entities and residents to go green. These grants go fast, but you can also keep up with the latest by subscribing to receive e-mail updates from TERP.

We've covered two of the most relevant and recent grants in the subsections below. For a full list, consult TERP's main site. Once there, double check the application deadlines, as many of the programs listed have ended. If a program is not currently taking applications, there might be future funding to keep an eye out for.

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Rebate Grants

Through the statewide Light-Duty Motor Vehicle Purchase or Lease Incentive Program (LDPLI), you might be eligible for a grant rebate of up to $2,500 if you buy or lease a new, qualifying alternative fuel vehicle that runs on one of the following:

  • Compressed natural gas (CNG).
  • Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
  • Electric drives (plug-in).

You must have leased or purchased your new AFV from an authorized Texas dealership or leasing company on or after May 13, 2014. Funds are limited. In fact, the LDPLI will accept applications on a first-come, first-served basis until 5:00 p.m. on June 26, 2015, or until funds run out (whichever occurs first).

If interested in applying for a rebate grant, first check out the Notice of Rebates. Then download and complete an LDPLI Application Form and the program's terms and conditions. For more on requirements, where to mail your application, and updates, refer to the LDPLI program page, or call a Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) staff member at (800) 919-TERP (8377).

Grants for Natural Gas Conversions and Purchases

The Texas Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program (TNGVGP) provides grants for the conversion to or purchase of natural gas vehicles. Specifically, the program aides entities that own and operate heavy-duty or medium-duty vehicles looking to repower or replace existing diesel or gasoline vehicles with natural gas vehicles or engines.

You must apply through a qualified and participating dealer under contract with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Learn more on how to apply or check out TNGVGP online resources.

At this time, all funding has been awarded for the fiscal year. However, if you submit a grant application, the TCEQ will hold it in its original queuing order for consideration when the new grants became available again beginning September, 2014.

Austin Energy Rebates for PEV Home-Charging Stations

Austin Energy offers two types of rebates for plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging stations:

Check out the following subsections for more on rebate requirements and how to apply.

PEV Home Charging Station Rebate

Austin Energy provides a home charging station rebate to customers who own a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV). Specifically, you can earn a rebate of 50% of costs associated with buying and installing a Level 2 (240V) charging station—up to $1,500.

You must have the installation performed by a licensed contractor who obtains a contractor permit for electric work performed within the City of Austin. For more details, or to request a printable application, e-mail Plug-In Austin. You also have the option to apply online.

Multifamily Properties Charging Station Rebate

Austin Energy provides multifamily property charging station rebates of up to 50% of installation costs* for:

  • Level 2 (240V) charging stations.
  • PEV Level 1 (120V) outlets.

*Maximum rebate amounts vary depending on your selected equipment and whether you install the station in a new or existing parking area.

Keep in mind that adding a station to a multifamily property requires coordination between the homeowners association (HOA)/property manager, residents, and Austin Energy. Even the expense is shared:

  • Equipment, installation, and repair expenses—paid for by station host.
  • Ongoing network licensing fees—paid for by Austin Energy.

You must submit your rebate application within 60 days of installation.

Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Rebates—Texas Gas Service

The Texas Gas Service Conservation Program offers multiple rebates to entice its residential and commercial customers to go green. To be eligible for the following rebates, you must be located within the following city limits:

  • Austin.
  • Cedar Park.
  • Kyle.
  • Rollingwood.
  • Sunset Valley.
  • West Lake Hills.

Read the subsections below for rebate details regarding natural gas vehicles and refueling units. Keep in mind that Texas Gas Service offers these rebates on a first-come, first-served basis until funds run out. If you have questions, call (512) 370-8243.

Honda Civic GX Rebates

Texas Gas Service offers a $2,000 rebate when you buy a Honda Civic GX from Howdy Honda of Austin. As a residential or commercial customer, you must also have one of the following base gas service rate codes to qualify:

  • Sunset Valley I/S.
  • Austin I/S.
  • ABIA I/S.
  • Roll I/S.
  • WLHS I/S.
  • Kyle I/S.
  • CDPK I/S.

After purchasing a Honda Civic GX through Howdy Honda, mail a completed application and a copy of your invoice from the dealer to:

Texas Gas Service Conservation Program
5613 Avenue F
Austin, TX 78751

For more info, contact Texas Gas Service, or check out specifics on the rebate application.

Natural Gas Vehicle Rebate Program

The Natural Gas Vehicle Rebate Program offers the following types of rebates:

  • $2,000 rebate for buying a new natural gas vehicle (other than the Honda GX mentioned above).
  • $2,000 rebate for buying a preowned vehicle converted by the previous owner (see the list of eligible vehicles under the section below on conversions).
  • $3,000 rebate for recently converting a vehicle to natural gas by a certified technician (detailed below under the Natural Gas Vehicle Conversion Program).

To be eligible, you must have an active Texas Gas Service account, and your vehicle must be validly registered in one of the following counties:

  • Travis.
  • Williamson.
  • Hays.

Also note that you have 180 days from the date of purchase to submit your application and invoice either from the automotive dealer or certificate of conversion and copy of the installer's invoice to the Texas Gas Service Conservation Program.

Consult the the Natural Gas Vehicle Rebate Program page for more on eligibility requirements (such as base gas service rate code) and application details on both rebates.

Natural Gas Vehicle Conversion Program

The Natural Gas Vehicle Conversion Program offers rebates (up to $3,000) for converting* the following vehicles to run on natural gas:

  • Passenger vehicles.
  • Light-duty vehicles (automobiles. pickup trucks, vans).
  • Medium-duty vehicles (step vans, medium-duty trucks, and airport shuttles).
  • Heavy-duty vehicles (garbage trucks, top-kick trucks).
  • Forklifts.

*Your conversion must be performed by a conversion center licensed by the Railroad Commission of Texas. Plus, your vehicle must undergo a pre- and post-conversion emission reading.

Natural Gas Vehicle Home Refueling Unit Rebate Program

Through the Natural Gas Vehicle Home Refueling Unit Rebate Program, active residential customers can get a $2,000 rebate for the purchase and installation of a new NGV home-refueling unit in a new or existing residential home. To be eligible you must have a base gas service rate code of either:

  • ABIA I/S,
  • AUST I/S,
  • BEEC I/S,
  • CDPK I/S,
  • KYLE I/S,
  • LAKE I/S,
  • ROLL I/S,
  • SUNV I/S,
  • or WLHS I/S.

Consult the refueling unit program page for more on eligibility and application requirements.

Auto Insurance Discounts for Eco-Friendly Driving and Green Vehicles

Some Texas 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 vary by provider and circumstances. For example, you might receive a 10% discount on car insurance for owning or leasing a hybrid car, while maintaining low mileage can earn you up to a 30% auto insurance discount.

If your current TX 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.

Federal Tax Credits for Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Owners

Federal tax credits offer new fuel-efficient car buyers yet another reason to switch to eco-friendly vehicles. You might qualify for tax credits offered by the federal government if you purchase:

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

To find out if you're eligible, check out fueleconomy.gov.

Idle Reduction System Weight Increase

If your vehicle is equipped with an idle reduction system, Texas allows for a weight increase—up to 400 pounds above the state limit for maximum gross weight and axle weight—to compensate for the system's extra weight. Just be prepared to provide proof of the following to law enforcement should an officer request it:

  • Full functionality of the idle reduction system (at all times).
  • Weight of the idle reduction system.

For the purposes of this exemption, Texas defines an idle reduction system as one that reduces idling while providing the following for a commercial vehicle's sleeper berth:

  • Heating.
  • Cooling.
  • Electrical service.

For specifics, refer to the Texas Statutes, Transportation Code (Section 622.955).

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