Green Vehicle Laws and Regulations in Wisconsin

Wisconsin maintains several green driving laws when it comes to eco-friendly vehicles and green-driving habits. These regulations include everything from emissions testing requirements and tax requirements to petroleum reduction and low-speed vehicle access.

Just as with green driver incentives, green driving laws and regulations are subject to change. Check back with this page as well as with the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) and your local Department of Transportation (DOT) office for the most up-to-date information.

Wisconsin Vehicle Emissions Test Requirements

Certain vehicles must always undergo smog checks during registration renewal and, sometimes, during other instances (such as transferring titles and first-time registrations). You can learn more about this process and the requirements at our section on Car Inspection in Wisconsin.

Note, though, that certain green and eco-friendly vehicles are exempt from emissions testing. The following vehicles are exempt from emissions testing:

  • Diesel-powered vehicles with a model year 2007 and older.
  • Motorcycles and mopeds.
  • Electric-powered vehicles.
  • Non-motorized vehicles.

NOTE: Although they're considered eco-friendly, hybrid vehicles must undergo emissions testing because they can operate partly on gasoline.

If your vehicle requires a smog and emissions check, please refer to our Local Smog Check Stations tool below for an inspection center near you.

Alternative Fuels State Excise Tax

Using an alternative fuel brings a state excise tax UNLESS it's used by the U.S. government or a government agency (and a valid exemption certificate can be presented) or by vehicles used for urban mass transportation of passengers.

Wisconsin includes the following as alternative fuels:

  • Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or propane).
  • Compressed natural gas (CNG).
  • Liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Taxes are as follows:

  • $0.226 per gallon of propane.
  • $0.247 per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) of CNG.
  • $0.197 per GGE of LNG.

For more information, refer to the Alternative Fuels Tax website and Wisconsin Statutes 78.40.

Petroleum Reduction Requirements

Per the Wisconsin Department of Administration's fleet management policy:

  • State-owned vehicles must reduce gasoline use by at least 50% by 2015 as compared to the amount used in 2006.
  • State agencies must cut back on petroleum-based diesel fuel use by 25% by 2015.

Reference Wisconsin Statutes 16.045 and Executive Order 141, 2006 for more information.

Alternative Fueling Infrastructure Development

In order to meet the public's traveling needs, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection must make sure sufficient alternative fueling infrastructure is properly established and maintained.

Reference Wisconsin Statutes 93.07(26) for details.

Low-Speed Vehicle Access to Roadways

First, let's define a low-speed vehicle.

By Wisconsin's definition, a low-speed vehicle is one that is a self-propelled motor vehicle and meets the standards set forth by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards under Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 571.500. (This does not include golf carts.)

Next, let's take a look at low-speed vehicle regulations.

Municipality governments can allow low-speed vehicles to operate on roadways within said municipalities that have speed limits of 35 MPH or fewer, even if that municipality doesn't have jurisdiction over the roadway.

Find more details at Wisconsin Statutes 349.26 and 340.01(27h).

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Acquisition and Alternative Fuel Use Requirements

Whenever feasible and cost effective, the Wisconsin Department of Administration prefers state employees who are using state-owned or -leased vehicles to choose hybrid electric vehicles or other vehicles that run on an alternative fuel called "gasohol" (a fuel that contains at least 10% alcohol) or some other alternative fuel.

To make this easier for state employees, the Department must place a list of alternative fueling stations, including those providing gasohol, in each of the state-owned or -leased vehicles.

For more information, refer to Wisconsin Statutes 16.045 and Executive Order 141, 2006.

Find a Nearby Wisconsin Emissions Testing Station

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

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