Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in Vermont
Vermont maintains a handful of green vehicle laws specific to protecting the environment. These regulations include emissions test requirements, neighborhood electric vehicle operating restrictions, laws against vehicle idling, and more.
The laws designed to enhance air quality and safety, and related green driver incentives, are subject to change. Keep up with the latest legislation by reading through this page and also consulting your local VT Department of Motor Vehicles branch and the government's Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Vermont Vehicle Emissions Test and Inspection Requirements
Vermont requires the following vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 lbs or fewer to undergo an emissions test* as part of their annual safety equipment inspection. This includes most alternative fuel vehicles.
- All gasoline-powered vehicles (model-year 1996 and newer).
- All diesel-powered vehicles (model-year 1997 and newer).
*Vermont enlists the On-Board Diagnostics (OBDII) examination to test each vehicle's emission control system.
Emissions Test Exemptions for Electric Vehicles
Vermont exempts emission-free vehicles from emissions testing such as electric cars and neighborhood electric vehicles. However, if your vehicle has the ability to run on gasoline or diesel fuel, it must undergo an emissions test. Emissions test exemptions are just one perk of driving an eco-friendly vehicle. Refer to our driver incentives page for more on how to save green by going green.
Get full details regarding the VT's annual vehicle inspection program on our page covering inspections and smog checks or the State's page on vehicle emission control requirements. Then locate the nearest inspection station using the locator widget at the bottom of this page.
VT Neighborhood Electric Vehicle Driving Restrictions
Vermont prohibits driving a neighborhood electric vehicle faster than 25 MPH Plus, you may not drive one on VT highways with a speed limit greater than 35 MPH, except to cross a highway with a speed limit of 50 MPH or fewer if both of the following apply:
- It takes place (beginning and ending) on a highway authorized for use by an NEV.
- You're crossing at an intersection controlled by traffic control signals.
In the interest of public safety, local governments may prohibit NEV highway use on town highways within their jurisdiction. For specifics on NEV driving restrictions, refer to Vermont Statutes (Title 23, Chapter 13, Sections 1007a and 1043).
Vermont defines a neighborhood electric vehicle as a self-propelled, electrically powered motor vehicle that:
- Emits no emissions.
- Is made to carry up to 4 passengers.
- Is designed to go 25 MPH (miles per hour) or fewer.
- Bears at least 4 wheels (in contact with the ground).
- Has a GVWR fewer than 3,000 lbs.
- Complies with the minimum safety equipment requirements (for low-speed vehicles) detailed in Code of Federal Regulations (Title 49, section 571.500.
Vermont Vehicle Idling Restrictions
Not only does idling your vehicle waste gas; it is illegal in Vermont. Read on for idling restrictions that pertain to passenger vehicles and school buses.
General Idling Provisions
You may not cause or allow a motor vehicle's primary propulsion engine to run (while the vehicle is not in motion) for more than 5 minutes in any period of 60 minutes. However, there are numerous exceptions to the rule such as:
- Being rendered motionless by highway traffic, the direction of an official traffic control device or signal, or a law enforcement official.
- Maintaining the health or safety of a vehicle occupant.
- Maintaining the comfort of non-driver passengers on a passenger bus.
- Operating safety equipment such as windshield defrosters.
- Ambulances, police, fire, and rescue vehicles.
School Bus Idling Restrictions
Vermont prohibits school bus drivers from idling their vehicles on school grounds. Specifically, the operator of a school bus* must:
- Turn off the primary propulsion engine as soon as the bus arrives at student loading or unloading areas on school grounds (including parking lots, playing fields, and driveways used for school-related activities).
- Avoid restarting the engine until the bus is loaded or unloaded and ready for departure.
- Not otherwise idle on school grounds for more than 5 minutes in a period of 60 minutes.
*VT considers the term “school bus" to include all vehicles run by or for the district to transport its students to or from school and school-related activities. This includes the vehicles of contracted vendors.
Find a Nearby Vermont Emissions Testing Station
Locate the closest Vermont smog and emissions testing station with the widget below: