Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in Utah
Utah enlists numerous laws specific to enhancing the environment and reducing vehicle-related air pollution. This includes vehicle emissions testing, special fuel user permits, idling restrictions, compressed natural gas vehicles regulations, low-speed electric vehicle restrictions, and more.
Be on the lookout for new green vehicle laws and relevant eco-friendly driver incentives as Utah increases its efforts regarding cleaner air. In fact, the State has tasked a special commission to explore and develop new ways to improve air quality through the enhanced use of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). Keep up with the latest by bookmarking this page and periodically consulting your local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) branch and the Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Utah Emissions Testing and Inspection Requirements
Utah's emissions test requirements vary depending on location and model-year. For starters, all vehicles 6 years old and older (up to 1967) require an annual emissions test to maintain Utah vehicle registration. However, vehicles registered in Cache County must only undergo emissions testing every 2 years.
The emissions test requirement of 2 years also applies to Utah vehicles fewer than 6 years old that are registered in the following counties:
- Salt Lake.
For vehicles required to undergo emissions testing every 2 years, one more caveat applies: Models manufactured in even-numbered years must have an emissions test in even-numbered years. Likewise, vehicles manufactured in odd-numbered years must have an emissions test in odd-numbered years.
Check our Emissions Testing Station widget below to find a testing location near you.
Emissions Test Exemptions
Utah exempts the following from emissions testing*:
- Low-speed vehicles (see the definition under our section below on low-speed vehicle driving restrictions).
- New vehicles (fewer than 2 years old).
- Vehicles up to 6 years old (Cache County only).
*According to the Utah DMV electric vehicles (EV) must currently undergo smog and emissions testing; however, you might ask your emissions testing professional before making an appointment. Check our Emissions Testing Station widget below for a location near you.
These are only a few of the exempted vehicles. Contact emissions-testing counties if you have questions, or consult our page on Utah smog checks.
Utah Special Fuel User Permits for Businesses
Owners and operators of qualified clean-fuel vehicles must obtain a special fuel user permit from the Utah State Tax Commission. Read on for details, whether your business's vehicle is registered in Utah or another state.
Also, for the purposes of the regulations that follow, Utah considers the following to be clean fuels:
- Compressed natural gas.
- Liquefied natural gas.
If you own or operate a vehicle based in Utah that runs on clean fuel, you must annually apply as a Special Fuel User (SFU). Once approved, you'll receive a single special fuel user permit.
SFU permits expire annually on December 31. However, Utah honors them for the calendar year until February 28 of the following year.
To determine if your vehicle qualifies, refer to Utah's International Fuel Tax Agreement & Special Fuel User information page or call the Commission's Motor Carrier Section at (888) 251-9555.
Vehicle Based Beyond Utah
If you own or operate a clean fuel vehicle in Utah that is based out of another state, you must either:
- Maintain valid registration in your home state under the International Registration Plan (IRP) and the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), or,
- Obtain a Utah Department of Transportation trip permit.
The trip permit costs $25 and is valid for 96 hours or until your vehicle leaves Utah (whichever takes place first). Consult Utah Motor Carriers for more on applying for a trip permit.
Public Use of State Fueling Stations
The Utah Department of Administrative Services Division of Fleet Operations permits the public (private individuals or entities*) to buy compressed natural gas from the state's fuel network when the following conditions apply:
- No commercial fuel sites meet the public's geographical CNG distribution needs,
- And there's no emergency that warrants keeping a CNG reserve for use by state or emergency vehicles (as determined by the Division).
*Utah defines a private individual or entity as an individual or entity that isn't acting on behalf of a federal, state, or local government agency, and also isn't buying compressed natural gas from a state fueling station for sale, resale, distribution, redistribution, trade, exchange, or in pursuit of a commercial enterprise.
For specifics on the authority of the public to buy CNG from state fueling stations, consult the Utah Code (Title 63A, Chapter 9, Section 702), or contact the Division of Fleet Operations at (801) 538-3014.
Utah Idling Restrictions
Idling significantly wastes fuel and pollutes the air, and is therefore illegal in Utah. Read on for idle reduction requirements and idling restrictions for fleet vehicles and all others on UT roads.
Utah Fleet Vehicles
Utah prohibits the idling of fleet-vehicle engines. Specifically, if you drive a Utah fleet vehicle, you must turn off its engine when stopped for more than 30 consecutive seconds. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Refer to the AFDC for more.
All Vehicles on UT Roads
Utah prohibits drivers from leaving their vehicles unattended without turning off the engine. Doing so can result in steep penalties of up to $750 and/or no more than 90 days of imprisonment. For more on unattended vehicle restrictions, consult the Utah Code (Title 41, Chapter 6a, Section 1403).
According to the AFDC, Utah also encourages drivers of passenger vehicles to cut back on excessive idling—which typically means running your engine while not in motion for more than 10 or 15 seconds—by adopting the following practices:
- Turn off your engine while unloading and/or making a delivery.
- Turn off your engine while picking up and/or dropping off passengers.
- Limit the time you take to warm up your gasoline-powered engine to 30 seconds.
For those who drive diesel-powered passenger vehicles, buses, and trucks, Utah suggests warming up your engine for no longer than what the manufacturer recommends (usually no more than 5 minutes).
Utah Low-Speed Vehicle Requirements and Driving Restrictions
To legally operate a low-speed vehicle on Utah's public roads, you must have a valid driver's license, and your vehicle must:
- Be properly titled and registered.
- Have adequate auto insurance coverage.
- Display a slow-moving vehicle identification emblem compliant with the Society of Automotive Engineers standard SAE J943 on the rear of the vehicle.
- Comply with the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 49, Section 571.500).
For full details, including equipment requirements, refer to Utah Code (Title 41, Chapter 6a, Section 1508).
For safety reasons, Utah limits where drivers can operate low-speed vehicles. For example, unless crossing a highway at an intersection, low-speed vehicles are prohibited from highways with a posted speed limit that exceeds 35 MPH.
For the purposes of these driving restrictions, Utah defines a low-speed vehicle as a four-wheel electric vehicle (EV) that can go no faster than 25 MPH by design, and can transport no more than 4 passengers (driver included). This classification does not include golf carts and off-highway vehicles.
Retrofit CNG Vehicle Inspection Requirements
If you own a retrofit compressed natural gas vehicle (retrofit on or after July 1, 2010), you must have it:
- Properly inspected and certified by a CSA America CNG Fuel System Inspector before driving it. Specifically, it must comply with relevant safety standards including the National Fire Protection Association 52 Vehicular Gaseous Fuel Systems Code.
- Tested to be sure it meets relevant emissions standards.
After the initial inspection, you must also have a CSA America CNG Fuel System Inspector inspect your retrofit every 3 years or 36,000 miles (whichever is sooner) and after any collision that takes place at a speed greater than 5 mph.
Additionally, whomever performs the retrofit must certify (to you, the owner) that the retrofit does not tamper with, circumvent, or otherwise affect your vehicle's on-board diagnostic system (if applicable).
For full details on Utah's retrofit CNG vehicle inspection and certification requirements, consult Utah Code (Title 19, Chapter 1, Section 406).
Find a Nearby Utah Emissions Testing Station
Locate the closest UT smog and emissions testing station with the widget below: