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Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in Virginia

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Virginia enlists numerous green vehicle laws aimed at protecting its environment and the people who live here. These regulations include emission test requirements, electric vehicle titling, alternative fuel tax, and more.

The eco-friendly laws and relevant green driver incentives are subject to change. Stay on top of the latest by reviewing this page as well as checking in with your local Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) branch and the government's Alternative Fuels Data Center.

Virginia Emissions Test Requirements

Virginia doesn't test emissions in all VA cities and counties. In fact, through the Air Check Virginia inspection program, Virginia only requires an emissions inspection as a condition of vehicle registration and registration renewal for certain gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles* registered in the:

  • Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford.
  • Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park.
*This includes gasoline-powered vehicles (less than 25 model-years old before January 1 of the current calendar year) with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 lbs or less, and diesel-powered vehicles (model-year 1997 and newer) with a GVWR up to 8,500 pounds.

If you own a vehicle in the above Northern Virginia counties (or regularly commute into them), you must have an inspection performed every 2 years at a State-approved facility. Learn about test specifics, waivers, fees, and more through Air Check Virginia and our page covering smog and emissions checks. Then if necessary, locate the nearest inspection center using our locator widget at the bottom of the page.

Emissions Test Exemptions for Eco-Friendly Vehicles

Virginia exempts the following fuel-efficient vehicles from emissions testing:

  • Vehicles exclusively powered by clean fuels, including compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, electricity, and solar energy (For a full list of qualifying clean fuels see the section on clean special fuel license plates covered on our Green Driver Incentives page).
  • Qualified hybrids (See our Green Driver Incentives page for specifics.).
  • Motorcycles.
  • Certain diesel-powered vehicles.

Consult the state for a full list of emissions test exemptions (even beyond eco-friendly vehicles).

Emissions test exemptions are just one perk of driving an eco-friendly car. For more, check out our page on Virginia's green driver incentives.

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VA Converted Electric Vehicle Title Requirements

If you modify a motor vehicle (excluding motorcycles) by replacing its internal combustion engine with an electric propulsion system, you must apply for a Converted Electric Vehicle title.

Here's how:

  1. Download and complete an Application for Certificate of Title and Registration (VSA 17A). Note that your converted EV still retains its original vehicle identification number, line-make, and model year.
  2. Have a certified Virginia Safety Inspector complete a Converted Electric Vehicle Certification (VSA 26), indicating completion of electric propulsion.
  3. Calculate total fees by including the $10 title fee, applicable registration fees, and Motor Vehicle Sales and Use Tax (for newly purchased vehicles).
  4. Gather additional required documents: previous ownership document and proof of address.
  5. Submit all documents and fees in one of the following ways:

In person throughout the state:

Customer Service Center

In person at the VA DMV Headquarters:

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
Attn: Vehicle Branding Work Center
2300 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23269

By mail:

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
Attn: Vehicle Branding Work Center
P.O. Box 27412
Richmond, VA 23269

By definition, a converted EV does not qualify as a reconstructed vehicle. Check out the exceptions detailed in Virginia Code 46.2-100 for more.

Virginia Alternative Fuel Tax for EVs and AFVs

Drivers of highway electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles registered in Virginia must pay an annual license tax of $64 per vehicle. On top of that, Virginia imposes an additional $50 annual license tax for EVs.

Also note that Virginia taxes blended fuel that contains either gasoline or diesel fuel at the rate levied on each type of fuel, respectively.

Virginia Low-Speed Vehicle Driving Restrictions

To legally operate a low-speed vehicle on Virginia's public roads, ensure it meets VA equipment requirements. If you have it registered and titled through the Virginia DMV, it must also bear VA low-speed vehicle license plates.

You may not take low-speed vehicles on roads with a posted speed limit greater than 35 mph. Keep in mind, local governing bodies and the Virginia Department of Transportation may altogether restrict low-speed vehicles on roads within their jurisdiction.

Virginia defines a low-speed vehicle* as any four-wheeled vehicle that:

*This excludes golf carts and low-speed vehicles used exclusively for agricultural and horticultural purposes.

Virginia Engine Idling Restrictions

Virginia prohibits public service and commercial vehicles from idling for more than 3 minutes while parked in commercial or residential urban areas. Exceptions include when the vehicle's propulsion engine is providing auxiliary power for purposes other than heating and air conditioning.

Additionally, VA puts a 10-minute cap on idling for:

  • Tour buses that are powering their air conditioning systems in hot weather.
  • Diesel-powered vehicles that revert to idling to reduce issues with restarting.

For further details, refer to Virginia Administrative Code (Title 9, Agency 5, Chapter 40, Section 5670 C).

State Vehicle Use of Biodiesel and Green Diesel Fuel

To run on-road internal combustion engines, Virginia's state public bodies must obtain and use diesel fuel containing a minimum of 2% biodiesel (B2) or green diesel fuel. However, upholding this requirement depends on the availability and variability in cost of this biodiesel fuel in comparison to unblended diesel fuel.

For specifics, refer to Virginia Code 2.2-1111 and the AFDC.

Find a Nearby Virginia Emissions Testing Station

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

Please enter your ZIP code OR city and state abbreviation

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